Oregon Wrongful Death Basics
Coping with the loss of a loved one after an accident can be a long, traumatic process. In addition to the emotional loss of the person, there are often ballooning, unexpected costs that appear after the initial event. Medical bills, emergency responder costs, and the costs of funerals add heartache at the most inopportune time. If the passing of your loved one was caused by another person's actions, receiving compensation to offset the bills can help mitigate the burden of loss. Speaking with an Oregon wrongful death lawyer at Pacific Injury Law Firm can help you understand what your rights to recovery are, and what the timelines to recover may entail.
Historically, recovering compensation - generally financial - was all but impossible. However, with the modern requirements and prevalence of insurance in Oregon and other states, today there is often financial recourse for the wrongful death of a loved one. Insurance is carried to cover exactly the type of circumstances wrongful death attorneys help clients to recover. Negligence of a person covered by such an insurance policy can provide money to those injured by the wrongful death of their loved one.
In recent decades, many state legislatures have passed a patchwork of laws and limitations on the ability of injured parties to recover. This movement - often referred to as "tort reform," - is an attempt to limit open-ended litigation and exposure of insured companies or people. With the laws varying greatly from state to state, the process can be confusing without consulting with a skilled wrongful death attorney. The Oregon wrongful death lawyers at Pacific Injury Law Firm are familiar with important time limitations and pathways necessary to economic recovery, so acting quickly on a potential claim is important.
Wrongful Death Lawsuit Requirements
The vast majority of states, including Oregon's wrongful death laws, share some common requirements to bring a successful lawsuit, including:
- The negligent, or "wrongful act" of another person or entity must have caused the death.
- Another person with legal "standing" (a term for an injured party with the right to file a lawsuit), must file a lawsuit to recover for the death. In practice, the people with standing generally include children, spouses, or parents of the deceased.
When filing an Oregon wrongful death claim, the amount and type of compensation received depends greatly on the specific facts of the loss and the state in which the claim was filed.
The types of damages (financial compensation) is evaluated by juries in a number of ways. Some states require the defendant to pay the plaintiff (the person bringing the lawsuit) money that the loved one would have earned had they not passed away. In other states, the judge or jury will attempt to place a monetary value of the lost love, companionship, and other non-physical benefits the deceased provided. In more select circumstances, damages called “punitive damages” can be awarded to punish the defendant for particularly bad conduct. This is usually conduct that was extremely reckless, dangerous, or even intentional.
No one should have to navigate a wrongful death lawsuit alone. Reaching out to a skilled personal injury lawyer focused on getting you the best result for your case, and who has extensive experience with wrongful death cases can provide much-needed help and support. Call an Oregon wrongful death attorney at Pacific Injury Law Firm today to discuss your circumstances and protect your rights.