Time Limits for Lawsuits Against Public Bodies in Oregon
If you were hurt by a City of Portland driver, a State employee who was on the job, a Tri-Met bus, a public school teacher on the job, a police officer, or any other state, county, or city entity or worker, you generally have to file Oregon Tort Claims Notice within 180 days. If your family member was killed by the negligence of one of these entities, you might have a year (talk to a lawyer to make sure – wrongful death cases are even more complicated).
Oregon tort claims are notices – basically the official notice for a public body (usually the state of Oregon) that someone believes they have grounds for a lawsuit. This is not the lawsuit itself, which will later need to be proved, but just the first step in the process.
The normal time limit for bringing a lawsuit for a personal injury in Oregon is 2 years, pursuant to the Oregon Personal Injury Statute of Limitations as stated in ORS 12.110(1).
If you are looking for a form letter to send for the Oregon Tort Claim Notice STOP looking – there is no template. You will have to read the Oregon Revised Statutes and write one yourself OR hire an attorney to do so for you. Here are some basics that should be included, but this is by no means all that is needed:
- Description of time, place, and circumstances
- Description of claim and damages
- Contact info for both claimant (person claiming injury) and defendant (person who caused injury)
But if you were hurt by any city, county, or state entity, beware!!!! There are short, tricky, and harsh time limits that will apply. Time limits for lawsuits against the state of Oregon can be complicated, and you should seek the counsel of a personal injury attorney if you have questions. Note: 180 days is not 6 months!
If you are interested in filing an Oregon Tort Claim notice, you should consider contacting an experienced personal injury lawyer – Tort Claims are complicated and must be filed more quickly than other types of claims. So legal experience can be invaluable. If you do not file with this period, you can lose all rights to compensation.
The Tort Claim Notice must be sent to the right person, and must say the right things. Details are in ORS 30.275. The text is also directly below. If you can’t understand it, feel free to call our office at 503-222-4411 for help.
(1) No action arising from any act or omission of a public body or an officer, employee or agent of a public body within the scope of ORS 30.260 to 30.300 shall be maintained unless notice of claim is given as required by this section.
(2) Notice of claim shall be given within the following applicable period of time, not including the period, not exceeding 90 days, during which the person injured is unable to give the notice because of the injury or because of minority, incompetency or other incapacity:
(a) For wrongful death, within one year after the alleged loss or injury.
(b) For all other claims, within 180 days after the alleged loss or injury.
(3) Notice of claim required by this section is satisfied by:
(a) Formal notice of claim as provided in subsections (4) and (5) of this section;
(b) Actual notice of claim as provided in subsection (6) of this section;
(c) Commencement of an action on the claim by or on behalf of the claimant within the applicable period of time provided in subsection (2) of this section; or
(d) Payment of all or any part of the claim by or on behalf of the public body at any time.
(4) Formal notice of claim is a written communication from a claimant or representative of a claimant containing:
(a) A statement that a claim for damages is or will be asserted against the public body or an officer, employee or agent of the public body;
(b) A description of the time, place and circumstances giving rise to the claim, so far as known to the claimant; and
(c) The name of the claimant and the mailing address to which correspondence concerning the claim may be sent.
(5) Formal notice of claim shall be given by mail or personal delivery:
(a) If the claim is against the state or an officer, employee or agent thereof, to the office of the Director of the Oregon Department of Administrative Services.
(b) If the claim is against a local public body or an officer, employee or agent thereof, to the public body at its principal administrative office, to any member of the governing body of the public body, or to an attorney designated by the governing body as its general counsel.
(6) Actual notice of claim is any communication by which any individual to whom notice may be given as provided in subsection (5) of this section or any person responsible for administering tort claims on behalf of the public body acquires actual knowledge of the time, place and circumstances giving rise to the claim, where the communication is such that a reasonable person would conclude that a particular person intends to assert a claim against the public body or an officer, employee or agent of the public body.
A person responsible for administering tort claims on behalf of a public body is a person who, acting within the scope of the person’s responsibility, as an officer, employee or agent of a public body or as an employee or agent of an insurance carrier insuring the public body for risks within the scope of ORS 30.260 to 30.300, engages in investigation, negotiation, adjustment or defense of claims within the scope of ORS 30.260 to 30.300, or in furnishing or accepting forms for claimants to provide claim information, or in supervising any of those activities.
(7) In an action arising from any act or omission of a public body or an officer, employee or agent of a public body within the scope of ORS 30.260 to 30.300, the plaintiff has the burden of proving that notice of claim was given as required by this section.
(8) The requirement that a notice of claim be given under subsections (1) to (7) of this section does not apply if:
(a)(A) The claimant was under the age of 18 years when the acts or omissions giving rise to a claim occurred;
(B) The claim is against the Department of Human Services or the Oregon Youth Authority; and
(C) The claimant was in the custody of the Department of Human Services pursuant to an order of a juvenile court under ORS 419B.150, 419B.185, 419B.337 or 419B.527, or was in the custody of the Oregon Youth Authority under the provisions of ORS 419C.478, 420.011 or 420A.040, when the acts or omissions giving rise to a claim occurred.
(b) The claim is against a private, nonprofit organization that provides public transportation services described under ORS 30.260 (4)(f).
(9) Except as provided in ORS 12.120, 12.135 and 659A.875, but notwithstanding any other provision of ORS chapter 12 or other statute providing a limitation on the commencement of an action, an action arising from any act or omission of a public body or an officer, employee or agent of a public body within the scope of ORS 30.260 to 30.300 shall be commenced within two years after the alleged loss or injury. [1967 c.627 §5; 1969 c.429 §3; 1975 c.604 §1a; 1975 c.609 §14; 1977 c.823 §3; 1979 c.284 §64; 1981 c.350 §1; 1993 c.500 §4; 1993 c.515 §1; 2001 c.601 §1; 2001 c.621 §89; 2005 c.684 §2]