Personal Injury -- Plaintiff Law
Oregon Personal Injury Law
Being injured due to someone else’s carelessness can leave you in a difficult position. How do you cover your expenses or time lost from work in Portland? What about your long-term recovery in Eugene?
When you sustain an injury, there are often more extensive damages than just the initial harm caused. Sometimes these injuries are brought about by the negligent or reckless conduct of another person, or even someone who intentionally caused you harm.
Oregon personal injury law provides you with the framework to file a claim so that you can pursue compensation for these losses, due to others’ negligence.
Liability for Injury Claims in Oregon
Oregon personal injury law allows you to receive damages by establishing liability, in other words, proving the person who hurt you is at fault for your injuries. Under Oregon law, there are numerous types of injuries you may recover damages for, and here are some of the most common types of claims you may pursue.
Car Accident Claims in Oregon
Establishing liability for car accidents in Oregon differs from other types of injury claims due to certain car insurance considerations. Your claim may deal entirely with the car insurance company of the person who hit you along with your own policy, or you may end up needing to hire an attorney to litigate if the companies cannot agree on who was at fault.
The required no-fault liability insurance covers reasonable expenses like medical expenses, lost wages, childcare or domestic help, or funeral expenses for up to a year from the accident regardless of fault.
To recover for damages like property damages, pain and suffering, disfigurement, or other out of pocket damages, you can pursue a claim with the other driver’s auto insurance company. The minimum requirements for coverage are $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident for bodily injuries and $10,000 for property damage.
Negligence Claims in Oregon
Oregon law creates a legal duty of care for individuals as well as businesses. This duty of care requires them to act reasonably. When a person breaches this duty by acting unreasonably and causing your injuries, Oregon law gives you the framework to pursue compensation to financially fix the situation.
However, it is important to note that your actions may have an impact on your claim as well. Oregon injury law uses a modified comparative negligence approach, which decreases your damages based on your percentage of fault or prohibits any recovery if you are deemed equally or more at fault for your injuries.
Say you drive recklessly through an intersection in Beaverton when an oncoming car hits you and you are injured. If you are 50% or more at fault for your injuries, you cannot receive compensation from the other driver for your injuries. But say you were only 49% at fault for your injuries, you may recover a portion of the potential damages.
Premises Liability in Oregon
A premises liability claim allows you to recover for injuries you receive on the property of another person or business. Oregon law requires property owners to take reasonable care to maintain the premises, inspect for any hazards, and remedy any potential dangers. The relationship you have with the property owner can heighten this duty, and they may have owed you a warning to prevent you from exposure to a dangerous condition.
What Damages Can I Recover?
Although attorneys cannot ethically promise you a certain dollar amount of damages, they can help you determine the type of damages you may be eligible for and advocate for fair compensation on your behalf.
Economic damages provide reasonable compensation for your medical expenses, property damage, time out of work, or other monetary losses. If you have received benefits from an insurance company or another collateral source to help pay for these damages already, the court will determine if you may recover for these damages twice, partially, or not at all.
Non-economic damages allow you to recover for pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of companionship in a wrongful death claim, as well as disfigurement or physical impairment. Under Oregon law, you may only receive up to $500,000 for non-economic damages.
Punitive damages, meant to punish the person you bring a claim against, are typically not allowed under Oregon law unless the person acted maliciously or with outrageous indifference to the welfare of others.
How Long Do I Have to Bring My Claim?
The amount of time you have to bring your claim depends on the type of case you have. The statutes of limitation in Oregon include:
- Physical injuries: two years
- Medical malpractice: two years from injury or reasonable discovery of injury, but may not extend five years from the date of the last procedure
- Wrongful death: three years
Failing to file your lawsuit within the permitted time may result in receiving no compensation and losing the ability to bring a claim for these damages in the future. However, there are some cases where you may have more or less time than usual.
If your claim is against local or state government, you may only have two years to bring your claim so time is of the essence.
If you are under 18 years old or the state deems an individual lacks legal mental capacity, this time period may be extended up to five years but may not be extended longer than a year after the injury is remedied.
Should I Hire an Attorney?
If you have suffered serious injuries and substantial financial expenses, hiring an attorney may be necessary to help ensure you are fairly compensated for your damages. These cases can be complex to litigate, involve numerous filing requirements, and extensive legal research.
For injuries with minimal damages under $5,000, you may choose to handle the claim on your own in small claims court. Or if you are injured in a car accident, you have the option to work with the auto insurance companies on your own to reach a settlement as well.
However, if the insurance companies disagree on fault or give you an unsatisfactory settlement offer, your only option may be moving forward with litigation and hiring an attorney to advocate on your behalf.