A wrongful death occurs when someone else’s wrongful action or omission directly causes another person to pass away. Certain people related to the deceased may claim compensation for his or her passing through a wrongful death lawsuit filed in civil court.
Under Oregon law, very specific rules apply to wrongful death claims — including who may represent the deceased, the damages they can claim, and how long the deceased’s loved ones have to file the claim. If you recently lost a loved one to someone else’s negligence, understanding these laws can help you navigate the process. If you have any questions regarding a lawsuit, Tillmann Law’s experienced Portland wrongful death lawyers can help. We offer free case evaluations, and charge no fees unless we win.
All civil lawsuits in Oregon are subject to a statute of limitations. This rule imposes a deadline that you must file the wrongful death claim by, or the court will dismiss your case. If you fail to file within the required time period, you will lose your chance at recovering compensation through the lawsuit. For wrongful death claims, you have three years from the date of your loved one’s final injury to file your claim.
It is important to remember that the clock begins on the date that your loved one suffered the accident that ultimately caused his or her death, not his or her date of death. Since a considerable amount of time may pass between the accident and your loved one’s death, you may be subject to a shorter statute of limitations than you realize.
Government agencies have special deadline considerations. If the claim involves a government entity, you must file a claim under the Oregon Tort Claims Act (OTCA). You must file an OTCA wrongful death claim within one year of your loved one’s last injury.
Understanding the statute of limitations can be difficult, especially in complex cases. In these situations, it is best to speak to an Oregon wrongful death attorney and determine your case’s specific deadline.
Before you begin the wrongful death process, you must first determine whether or not you are eligible to file a lawsuit on behalf of the deceased person. Only the personal representative of the deceased’s estate can bring a wrongful death claim to court, and he or she must act for the benefit of the deceased person’s beneficiaries.
These beneficiaries may include children, spouses, and parents. Stepchildren and stepparents may also qualify, depending on the circumstances. The deceased person will usually name the personal representative in his or her will; if he or she does not name a personal representative, the court will appoint one in the following order.
Navigating the wrongful death process can be difficult without an injury attorney in Portland on your side. You may wonder when you need to file your claim, or whether you qualify to bring the claim to court at all. An Oregon wrongful death attorney will have strong knowledge of the state’s wrongful death statute, and can provide valuable advice throughout the process.
Your lawyer will help you identify your statute of limitations and prepare the necessary paperwork to file the claim, as well as represent you and your family during negotiations and in trial. Contact a wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your loved one’s story and file your claim by the appropriate deadline.