Losing a loved one can be a difficult reality to get to terms with. Regardless of how it happened and who did it, and whether or not it was deliberate, there is nothing that can be done to fill the void. That, however, is not to mean you should suffer financial consequences that the death has inflicted on you as the family of the deceased.
If the death was due to someone else’s negligence, you can file a wrongful death claim against the at-fault party. According to Oregon laws, wrongful death occurs when there was negligence, wrongdoing, or willful harm behind the death. Common examples of wrongful death include injuries sustained during criminal activity such as robbery, pedestrian accidents, motor accidents, abuse and neglect, animal attacks, product defects, accidents at work, medical malpractice, drunk driving, texting while driving, and fights.
Depending on the circumstances, any of the above possible causes of death may or may not meet the wrongful death claims’ standard of proof, which is why you need a Portland wrongful death lawyer to help you determine if the circumstances of your loved one’s death meet Oregon’s statute for a wrongful death. Examples of scenarios where a wrongful death claim can be rejected include auto accidents caused by bad weather or when a driver runs a light or violates traffic laws then ends up in an accident.
Who can file a wrongful death claim?
Oregon laws are quite strict on who can seek compensation following a wrongful death. Per the state’s statute 30.020, wrongful death lawsuits can be filed by any person who is legally eligible to inherit the property of the deceased. These include their biological or adopted children, stepchildren, spouse, parents, and stepparents.
Statute of limitations for wrongful death claims
In Oregon, you have three years from the day of the death of your loved one to file a wrongful death claim. After that, you have no claim to be compensated.
It is perfectly understandable that while grieving the loss of a close family member, you may not have the energy and time to be following up legal cases, but it is wise that you start the claim-filing process early before the statute of limitations expires. Three years may seem like a long time but a tremendous amount of work goes into building a case strong enough to be used in a wrongful death lawsuit. Facts surrounding the death must be gathered, medical documents obtained, and the case prepared.
Why do you file a wrongful death claim?
Considered civil matters and not really criminal cases, wrongful death claims are meant to compensate the family of the deceased for losses related to hospital and medical expenses, lost wages, funeral costs, loss of companionship, pain and suffering, and other benefits the surviving family members would have enjoyed had their loved one not died. These include 401k and insurance benefits.
Find a lawyer to help you determine if you are eligible to file a wrongful death claim and help calculate the compensation amount.