Understanding a Wrongful Death Claim in Oregon
A wrongful death claim is submitted on behalf of someone who dies because of the negligence or recklessness of another person. The person who submits this claim is someone from the surviving person’s family (most often the surviving spouse, parent or children).
A wrongful death lawsuit is one of the more complex legal procedures that you will come across. In this article, we will go over how these claims work and what you need to know if you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of submitting one of these claims for a loved one. We will also go over some of the specifics that pertain to those in Oregon.
It All Starts With Proof
The survivor must prove that the defendant caused the death and that the defendant is responsible for the death due to negligence or strict liability. Without substantial evidence, these cases are difficult to win. Video evidence, witness statements and confessions are amongst the most concrete types of evidence that undoubtedly prove negligence.
You also need to show that the victim’s death resulted in a monetary loss. For example, this could be financial support for a spouse or a dependent. Regardless, you will need to show how this wrongful death created a monetary loss in order to receive an accurate compensation figure. We will talk more about this process in the next section on damages.
Taking A Look At The Damages
There are three types of damages in these types of cases. Economic damages, non-economic damages and punitive damages. Let’s take a closer look at how these work.
Economic damages is the financial amount that was provided to the survivors when he or she was alive. This can cover a few different areas, including loss of earnings, loss of medical coverage, or loss of a pension plan. Basically, it’s anything that has a monetary figure attached to it.
Non-economic damages are things that are not quite as tangible as economic damages. Loss of companionship, pain and suffering and mental anguish are some examples of non-economic damages.
Punitive damages are assessed to punish the defendant for his or her conduct. In some cases, a judge will award punitive damages to make an example of the defendant.
Wrongful Death Lawsuits in Oregon
There are a few things that are notable about the wrongful death laws in the state or Oregon. First, the statute of limitations on wrongful death claims is three years. In other words, you have three years to file or settle your claim.
Also important to note: in Oregon, if someone dies with children but no spouse, the children inherit everything. If a spouse with no children or parents dies, the surviving spouse will inherit everything. There are a few other scenarios under Oregon’s intestate succession laws, but these two above are among some of the most common scenarios that we have seen over the years. To be safe, it’s always a good idea to complete a will so that your inheritance is passed on in the way that you prefer.