Wrongful death in Oregon is defined as a death “caused by the wrongful act or omission of another”. A typical wrongful death case is caused by a negligent, reckless or intentional act. These actions would be the same as one to support a personal injury claim if the deceased person had lived. The main difference from a personal injury claim is that the person in a wrongful death claim is no longer available to bring their claim to court but instead another party must bring the claim on behalf of the deceased person’s estate and any surviving beneficiaries.
In Oregon, the person who typically brings the wrongful death claim to court is a family member. A spouse, child or parent of the deceased person may file the claim as well as grandparents, stepchildren or stepparents.
A wrongful death claim is a civil suit, which means, it must be filed by a surviving family member directly and the liability is expressed solely in terms of money damages, not imprisonment, probation or criminal conviction.
What are the damages in an Oregon wrongful death case? The damages are intended to compensate the estate and surviving family members for losses related to the deceased person’s death including
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Medical and hospital expenses related to the deceased person’s final injury or illness
- Lost wages and benefits of what the deceased person would have earned in the future if not for the accident
- Compensation for pain and suffering the deceased experienced just prior to their death
- Loss of care, companionship, comfort and guidance suffered by the family members as a result of their untimely loss
Punitive damages are awarded in Oregon to punish particularly bad behavior. They are in place to send a message to society that extremely negligent or intentional wrongdoing is not tolerated.
In Oregon, there is a time limit on when you can file a wrongful death case in court. The claim must be filed within three years of the date of the deceased person’s final injury. This question may be one important for your wrongful death claim and it is important to get expert advice from an Oregon wrongful death lawyer. If your wrongful death claim meets the criteria above then it would be advised to take your claim to court. To make sure you are awarded the right damages and seek the compensation you deserve then hiring a wrongful death attorney is the right move.