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Oregon Wrongful Death

Wrongful Death Attorney / Lawyer based out of Portland, Oregon

First of all, if you are reading this page, we are very sorry for the death of your loved one. The emotional pain of losing a loved one due to an avoidable accident or a criminal act is understandably unbearable.

Based out of Portland Oregon, Clark Law & Associates, LLC, handles wrongful death cases primarily in Multnomah, Clackamas and Washington Counties. However, we accept cases in all of Oregon and Washington State.

A wrongful death is caused by the wrongful act or omission of another. A wrongful death can occur within the context of a motor vehicle accident, a dangerous property condition, a dog attack, medical malpractice, or even criminal acts. Below are answers to questions that you may have about the process of bringing a wrongful death claim.

Why should I obtain an attorney in a wrongful death case? While we acknowledge that no amount of money can bring back your loved one, a lawsuit against the at-fault party for the death of your loved one can bring some degree of justice and closure. When you are mourning the death of a loved one, you should put your case into the hands of an expert who is experienced and insured to handle your case.

Oregon attorneys are required to have malpractice insurance. If an Oregon attorney makes a mistake in your case that causes your case to be lost the attorney has malpractice insurance. For instance, if you retained an Oregon attorney within the first couple of months after a wrongful death as the result of the negligence of a state employee and the attorney failed to submit tort notice within one year, the attorney has malpractice insurance to cover your loss.

However, if you try to handle the case yourself and make the same mistake, there is no remedy. It is essential to obtain prompt legal advice regarding statute of limitations and other deadlines sooner rather than later. It is also important that you are working with someone to preserve evidence in the case. Please keep in mind that prior to filing a lawsuit there is a lot of preparation involved. So, it is best to give yourself some peace of mind and hire an attorney to handle the legal aspects of a wrongful death case sooner, rather than later.

Remember to take care of yourself. It is okay to seek the company of a grief support group or professional help from a mental health practitioner to support you through the grieving process. It may also be appropriate to see your primary care provider for some short term medications to help through the grieving process.

What is the statute of limitations for a wrongful death claim in the state of Oregon? Generally, a lawsuit must be filed within three years of the injury that caused a person’s death. However, there are plenty of exceptions. See ORS 30.020(1)(a) and ORS 12.110. Wrongful death claims may also be limited by statutes such as ORS 12.110, 12.115, 12.135, 12.137, which may mean that in some cases there is less than three years to bring a wrongful death claim. Under ORS 30.275(9) if a wrongful death is caused by someone employed by the State of Oregon, there is a two year statute of limitations. Other Oregon personal injury claims not involving a death generally have a two-year statute of limitations. It doesn’t hurt to file a wrongful death case earlier, rather than later.

Are there any other deadlines other than the statute of limitations? Yes. If the wrongful death is because of a government agent, tort claim notice under ORS 30.275(2)(a) must be submitted within one year after death. If the death is because a drunk driver killed your loved one as a result of a bartender serving him too much alcohol, you must give proper dram shop notice within one year under ORS 471.565(3)(a). Under ORS 30.905 there are additional deadlines in product liability claims. ORS 12.110 provides even more deadlines on cases, such as malpractice claims. The Oregon legislature changes the law from time to time, so it is best to call (503) 238-1010 so an attorney can determine your deadlines after hearing the facts of your particular case.

What Oregon Statute governs wrongful deaths? ORS 30.020-30.100.

Who can make a wrongful death claim? The personal representative of the decedent. See, ORS 30.020(1). Under ORS 113.035, any interested person or the executor named in the will may petition for the appointment of a personal representative.

On whose behalf can a wrongful death claim be made? Under ORS 30.020 the action must be brought to benefit those who would be entitled to inherit from the decedent under the law of intestate succession of the state of the decedent’s domicile or for the benefit of any stepchild or stepparent whether entitled to inherit from the decedent or not. Under ORS 30.010 A parent having custody of his or her child may recover damages for the death of the child.

What kind of compensation can be received in a wrongful death claim? ORS 30.020(2) outlines the types of damages that may be sought in a wrongful death claim.

  • Medical bills
  • Burial and memorial services
  • An amount that would reasonably have compensated the decedent for disability, pain, suffering and loss of income during the period between injury to the decedent and the decedent’s death
  • Reasonable monetary losses to the decedents estate
  • Reasonable compensation to the decedent’s spouse, children, stepchildren, stepparents and parents for financial loss of the decedent
  • Reasonable compensation includes loss of future earnings and benefits anticipated over the lifetime of the victim that would have been used to provide for the survivors
  • Non-economic damages for the survivors not to exceed $500,000.00 under ORS 31.710. Non-economic damages means subjective, non-monetary losses, including but not limited to pain, mental suffering, emotional distress, humiliation, injury to reputation, loss of care, comfort, companionship and society, loss of consortium, inconvenience and interference with normal and usual activities apart from gainful employment.
  • Punitive damages, if any, which the decedent would have been entitled to recover from the wrongdoer if the decedent had lived. Under ORS 31.730 the State of Oregon confiscates 70% of all punitive damages. This means that there is an incentive to settle a case for an amount that does not include punitive damages. There is a lack of incentive for either an Oregon Plaintiff or an Oregon Plaintiff’s attorney to win punitive damages at trial in a case. The jury won’t be instructed that the state will confiscate 70% of all punitive damages awarded.

Under ORS 30.271 there are limits to the amount that can be claimed in cases against the state of Oregon or against an officer, employee or agent of the state acting within the persons scope of employment or duties.

What are some factors used to value a wrongful death case?

  • Age and health of the deceased;
  • Life expectancy of the deceased;
  • Financial loss of deceased;
  • Age and health of the those entitled to benefits;
  • Life expectancy of those entitled to benefits;
  • Financial loss of those entitled to benefits;
  • Assets and available insurance coverage of the negligent party;
  • For other factors, see our Case Value Page

What are the rates of Clark Law & Associates, LLC to handle a wrongful death claim? See our Personal Injury Rates Page

Disclaimer: Legal information on this site is for general purposes only and may not be timely updated. Any information on this site is not a substitute for legal representation and application of the current laws to your case.