Fatal auto accidents are a big problem in the state of Oregon. According to the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT), there were nearly 50,000 auto accidents in Oregon in 2011. The ODOT also reported that fatal auto accidents in Oregon increased by more than 5% in 2011. To put it simply, Oregon motorists face a very real risk when they get into their cars, and in the event that you or a loved one is involved in a fatal auto accident, you may need to consult with an auto accident lawyer, one that has experience with the personal injury laws specific to Oregon that must be understood before a lawsuit can be brought.
Every state in the U.S. has a wrongful death statute, and the state of Oregon is no exception. Oregon’s wrongful death statute provides that the personal representative of the estate of the deceased may sue for damages on behalf of the deceased’s surviving spouse, surviving children, surviving parents, or any other heirs of the deceased. In addition, parents may directly sue the party responsible for the death of a child, and children may directly sue the party responsible for the death of a parent.
Also like other states, Oregon’s wrongful death statute has what is called a statute of limitations. This provision limits the amount of time in which the personal representative of the estate can sue. Such provisions are often complex, and for those seeking to collect for the death of a loved one in a fatal auto accident in Oregon should seek advice from an experienced Oregon auto accident lawyer. Even if the lawsuit is timely, an experienced auto accident lawyer with knowledge of Oregon law will be critical for bringing a successful case. This is because the estate of the deceased must prove that the responsible party negligently caused the fatal auto accident, which can many times involve complex questions of law and fact.
Many times, such cases do not go to trial. Instead, insurance companies will settle with the estate of the deceased. An experienced Oregon auto accident attorney will be helpful in negotiations with the insurance companies involved, which will allow the deceased’s loved ones to collect amounts that properly reflect the harm caused by the auto accident.
A successful lawsuit in Oregon for a fatal auto accident will result in an award of damages, or a settlement figure that reflects the damages that would have been awarded given the strength of the case. Such damages can include compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, mental anguish, physical pain and suffering, physical impairment, disfigurement, property damages, punitive damages, and loss of consortium. An experienced Oregon auto accident lawyer will know the full extent of damages that can potentially be awarded to be used in trial or settlement.
If you have been involved in a fatal auto accident in Oregon, you should consult an experienced lawyer that is knowledgeable in this area of the law, so that your rights can be represented.