Statute of Limitations for Car Accidents

Car accidents can be incredibly traumatic experiences. Recovery after an accident can be a long process, and physical healing is just one consideration. Few people even want to think about their accident. This is understandable, but it can cause legal troubles. Injuries caused by car accidents are covered by a statute of limitations. This means that if you postpone legal action for too long, you may lose the right to your day in court.

The first thing you need to know about the car accident statutes of limitations is that they vary depending on the state the accident occurred in and the type of damage caused by the accident. In Oregon, the statute of limitations is two years.

Statute of Limitations for Car Accidents

The Oregon Statute of Limitations.

As of writing, the two-year statute of limitation that covers most car accidents can be found in the Oregon Revised Statutes, Volume 1, chapter 12. Here is the relevant text:

“An action for assault, battery, false imprisonment, or for any injury to the person or rights of another, not arising on contract, and not especially enumerated in this chapter, shall be commenced within two years; provided, that in an action at law based upon fraud or deceit, the limitation shall be deemed to commence only from the discovery of the fraud or deceit.”

To sum things up, the statute of limitations is two years in Oregon. With that said, please note that this information is based on the latest edition of the Oregon Revised Statutes. Laws can be changed from year to year, so it’s always a good idea to talk to a legal professional with relevant expertise.\

How Statutes of Limitations Work

Most people have a vague idea about statutes of limitations but have trouble with the specifics. Let’s clear up some of the most common misconceptions. To begin with, you should know that the statute of limitations defines the length of time until legal proceedings can be initiated. This means that plaintiffs can wait until the very last day of their eligibility to start the legal process. After that, the case may go on for years, but the length of proceeds will not impact the legitimacy of the case.

Another crucial point to remember is that the legal process can be initiated even if the statute of limitations has run out.

The court system won’t immediately reject a lawsuit because the statute has passed. It is up to the defendant and their legal counsel to note the time passed and use the statute as cause for the suit to be rejected.

Deciding Whether or Not You are Still Eligible

Whether or not you are eligible for your day in court seems like it should be cut and dry but there are actually a few things to consider when figuring out whether or not you are still within the statute of limitations. The most obvious way to answer the question is by counting the days since the accident occurred. If less than two years have gone by since the date of the accident, then there is still time to act.

However, even if the two-year time limit has elapsed, there may still be hope. This is because in cases involving less obvious types of damage and injury the clock might start ticking upon discovery of the issue. The catch is that in these cases it’s necessary to prove that the damage in question was caused by the accident. This task becomes more difficult the more time has elapsed since the accident, so there’s reason to act quickly even if the clock seems to have plenty of time left on it.

statute of limitations oregon car accident

Dealing with a Running Clock

After any car accident in Oregon, a ticking clock is hanging over the heads of those involved. Two years after the accident or discovery of the harm caused by the accident the opportunity for legal compensation fades away. This is why anyone injured in a car accident needs to move with urgency if they want to seek compensation through the legal system.

This isn’t to say that anyone should act hastily. It’s always worth taking the time to carefully consider any legal action while discussing it with proper professionals. But at the same time, you shouldn’t put the action off any longer than necessary. If you wait too long, you may miss out on your window of opportunity and forfeit the chance to receive the justice you are owed.

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Common Torts

A tort is a commonly used term in personal injury law. There are a number of different types of torts for various situation that might occur. Before we explain the different types of common torts, let’s first understand exactly what is a tort? The dictionary definition of a tort states:

“A wrongful act or an infringement of a right (other than under contract) leading to legal liability.”

One of the primary things to understand about torts is how they differ to criminal law. In tort law there is no government persecution of the wrongdoer. Tort cases are handled in civil court where a plaintiff is seeking compensation for the harm that was done to them. The compensation is most commonly in the form of money which would be paid by the defendant as a result of the harm that they caused.

Common Torts

Elements of Tort Law

There are four elements to tort law which include:

  • Duty: a legal obligation
  • Breach of Duty: Failing to live up to the standard of a duty
  • Causation: Defendant’s conduct (or lack thereof) caused harm or damage
  • Injury: The harm or damage that occurred.

If damages are to be claimed by a plaintiff they must be able to prove all 4 elements of tort law, meaning a defendant was in a breach of duty which caused an injury to them.

Common Torts

There are three primary categories of torts, negligence, strict liability, and intentional torts. There are a number of different situations that can occur which fall under each of these different areas. Let’s take a look at some common torts in each of the categories.

Negligence

Negligence

The most common personal injury cases involve negligence. This is where a person or group of people act irresponsible and in a way that causes hard to someone else. There are many different situations that fall under the category of negligence. Car accidents that are caused by drunk or inattentive drivers is a very common example of negligence that’s often brought to civil court (as well as criminal court). There are also many causes of negligence that involve parents and small children. Parents have a duty to care for their children and negligence can be found if parent leave a small child alone in a car or at home, or in any number of other precarious circumstances. Another example could be carelessness on behalf of a doctor which causes medical problems for a patient.

Strict Liability

Strict Liability

This category is often also referred to as Product Liability and deals primarily with products that are defective and cause harm. A manufacturer or vendor has a duty to provide safe products that do to cause injury to those who use them (during normal use). There’s a wide variety of product liability examples within the consumer goods sector, from toys to appliances any defect that causes harm falls under this category. Another common example is within the food and prescription drug industries. Whether it’s medication or a frozen dinner, products that are consumed are subject to strict regulation and if they aren’t doing things correctly can often find themselves as a defendant in a personal injury case.

 

Intentional Torts

If a defendant purposefully causes harm or injury to someone else, this falls under the category of an intentional tort. What separates this from the other classes of torts is the idea of intent. The harm done was not the results of the lack of action, but rather the complete opposite. There are many different common intentional tort examples. Assault and battery to another person is one of the most common forms, however these are not limited to physical abuse on someone else. Emotional distress can also be considered an intentional tort. Other examples could be theft, trespassing or false imprisonment.

Personal Injury Attorney

Have you or a loved one suffered as a result of negligence, product liability, or intentional harm? Ryan Hilts specializes in personal injury law and torts within the state of Oregon. Please contact us today if you are in need of legal representation.

 

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Oregon Pain and Suffering Law

It’s always a challenge to deal with the aftermath of a personal injury, and the last thing most people want to handle is the legal situation regarding reimbursement and other payment. Fortunately, the state of Oregon has quite favorable laws in this area, and there’s one particular concept which can really help: the pain and suffering law.
Oregon Pain and Suffering Law

Definition of Pain and Suffering

Pain and suffering have a very vague definition under Oregon law.

Many people instinctively think that the law is always made up of very concrete definitions, but this is a good example of how that’s not always the case. In Oregon, pain and suffering can basically be defined as something which gives you misery as a result of the situation which injured you.

It can be broken into two categories:

  • Physical – actual pain in your body
  • Emotional – psychological ailments which occur in your mind

It’s possible to file an insurance claim for these, but they aren’t the only compensation you may receive.

This amount is separate from lost wages and other medical expenses, such as x-rays, medications, and hospital visits.”

Oregon Pain and Suffering Law

The pain and suffering law in Oregon breaks payments down into two categories: economic and non-economic.

The law is designed to compensate injury victims for various purposes. In this case, the payments are made in the form of damages, and they are easily explained in the following quote:

In general, damages are money awarded to a party in a civil lawsuit for any losses or injuries that are caused by others.

Here are some examples of economic damages:

  • Charges for medical and rehabilitation procedures necessary because of the injury
  • Loss of income due to the injury
  • Costs due to the loss of property because of the accident
  • Damage to a reputation (which will result in monetary loss)

Here are some examples of non-economic damages:

  • Physical and mental pain
  • Emotional stress
  • Humiliation and reputation damage

Oregon Economic and Nonecomoic Damages

Oregon Economic and Noneconomic Damages

Pain and suffering must be proven to be as a result of the accident, but there is no standard way to calculate it.

The degree of pain and suffering an individual experiences can vary greatly from person to person.

You will be required to prove that whatever pain and suffering you have was caused by the accident, and you will need to have appropriate documentation and testimony to prove that.

Oregon Limitations on Pain and Suffering

There are multiple aspects of the Oregon laws which place restrictions on pain and suffering damages, so you need to be aware of these as early as possible.

  • Time: There is a specific time limit in which you have to file your lawsuit.

In Oregon, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases gives an injured person two years from the date of the injury to go to civil court and file a lawsuit. (Ore. Rev. Stat. section 12.110(1)).

  • Caps: There are limits to the amount of the damages you can ask for.
  • Shared Faults: If it can be argued that you shared some of the fault for the accident that happened, this can be used against you (and it may reduce the amount of the damages accordingly).
  • Government: If your claim is against the state government (or an employee), then different rules apply. For example, you only have 180 days to make your claim – not 2 years.

How To Calculate or Measure a Pain and Suffering Settlement:

Economic damages are easier to calculate than non-economic, but there are methods to determine both types.

To calculate economic damages, you just need to have proof. You can show medical bills, the amount of salary you would have been paid for working those days, and similar information.

Non-economic damages are more complicated.

There are a number of approaches that insurance companies take when calculating pain and suffering as part of an injury settlement. The two most common are the multiplier method and the “per diem” (daily rate) method.

  • Multiplier method: This method is commonly used by insurance companies, and it simply multiplies your economic amount by another number to add on. The multiplier number is based on the severity of the injury, and it is generally between 1.5 and 5.
  • Daily Rate Method: In this method, you determine a daily dollar amount of how much effort it is to deal with your pain and suffering, and apply it to the duration (this gets much more complicated with permanent injuries).

Neither of these methods are an exact science, so it’s likely that your real number will be based on a mixture of the two.

How to Prove Pain and Suffering

How to Prove Pain and Suffering

You will be required to show a lot of proof of your claims of pain and suffering, so make sure you keep appropriate documentation along the way.

It’s a good idea to keep any receipts and bills you have because of your injury. Here are some examples of what are commonly used:

  • Medical bills
  • Prescription documentation and receipts
  • Proof of lost wages
  • Photos/medical reports about injuries

In general, the more you can provide, the better.

Why Ryan Hilts Is The Right Attorney For You

Insurance companies are experts at fighting these claims, so it pays to have an experienced and understanding lawyer by your side.

The process of filing a claim for pain and suffering in Oregon gets more complicated based on the severity of the injury, but it is never an easy one to do. I’ve helped countless people through this difficult time, and they were able to get back to things that meant the most to them in their lives – with an appropriate amount of compensation.

You don’t have to suffer alone!