3) Might a tavern owner be held responsible for injuries caused by an intoxicated patron?
Yes but Oregon law requires 180 days advance written notice to the bar of the injury claim. In addition, as of 2016 special proof is required to prevail in a case against the bar. See, Deckard v. Bunch 358 Or 754 (2016); ORS 471.565 37. In Deckard the Oregon Supreme Court found that for a bar responsible for injuries caused by an intoxicated patron, the injured person must prove:
1. The bar customer was visibly drunk; and,
2. It was “reasonably foreseeable” that the customer would drive away. Id.
Unlike Oregon Washington State does not re quire proof that bar knew its’ patron was intoxicated for the bar to be liable. See, Fault v. Albertson 166 Wn 653 (2009). In Washington it’s illegal to sell alcohol to “any person apparently under the influence…” RCW 66.44.200. Laws holding drinking establishments responsible for harm caused by drunken patrons are known as “dram shop” laws. A “dram” is the old English term for a shot of alcohol. Thus, a “dram shop” is an establishment selling alcohol.
TIP: Dram shop claims against bars and taverns require prompt expert investigation before surveillance video is destroyed and witnesses disappear. Successful dram shop resolution often requires early, hands on investigation by a savvy private investigator.