Every state in the United States’ allows for a wrongful death claim to be filed. By filing a wrongful death claim, the losses you and your family members have experienced, due to the wrongful death of a family member, can be compensated. But, every state has different rules and regulations when it comes to wrongful death claims. For your wrongful death suit to be successful, you must know these rules and regulations and how to proceed within them.

Oregon wrongful death

What Is A Wrongful Death Claim In The State Of Oregon?

In the United States’ legal system, there is something known as a “wrongful death claim”. A wrongful death claim is a claim against an individual or entity who can be held liable for the death of another individual. While a wrongful death claim can be filed in any state, every state has its own rules regarding wrongful death claims and the results that such a claim can lead to.

In the United States’ legal system, there is a claim that can be brought in a civil action known as a “wrongful death claim”. A wrongful death claim is, essentially, a claim against an individual or entity who can be held liable for the death of an individual or individuals.

Even though a wrongful death claim can be filed in any state, the specific rules and regulations regarding wrongful death claims differ from state-to-state. These rules and regulations affect the ways in which a wrongful death claim can be filed, and more importantly, the results that a wrongful death claim can lead to.

Within the state of Oregon, as per Oregon Revised Statutes section 30.020, wrongful death is defined as a death caused by “the wrongful act or omission of another”. Any death caused by a reckless or negligent act falls under this umbrella, as do acts of intentional violence. But, since the person who suffered from an act of that sort is no longer around, it is up to a family member of the deceased to file the claim.

Traditionally, the surviving spouse or parent files a wrongful death claim. But, in the state of Oregon, any family member of the deceased – children, stepchildren, stepparents, grandparents – can file a wrongful death claim.

A wrongful death claim is not a criminal case but, rather, a civil suit. Because of this, the results of a wrongful death claim are monetary, rather than criminal charges to the individual or entity who is being held liable for the death. Depending on the claim being made and the individual or entity’s behavior that lead to the wrongful death, punitive damages can be awarded.

  • A wrongful death claim is a claim against an individual or entity who can be held liable for the wrongful death of an individual or individuals
  • In Oregon, any death caused by a reckless, negligent, or intentional act can be considered a wrongful death
  • A family member of the deceased – spouse, child, parent, sibling, stepbrother, stepparent, grandparent – must file the wrongful death claim
  • Since a wrongful death claim is a civil suit, the results of a wrongful death claim are monetary
  • Depending on the specifics of the case, punitive charges may be awarded

But, there is a wrongful death cap in Oregon.

What Is The Oregon Wrongful Death Cap?

Oregon’s wrongful death cap means that within the state of Oregon, the non-economic damages awarded from a wrongful death claim may not exceed $500,000. But, for economic damages that arise from medical bills and funeral services – to name just two examples – the damages awarded may exceed $500,00 if the verified losses exceed $500,000. Punitive damages may also be awarded in specific wrongful death cases.

As of 2020, the non-economic damages that may be awarded from a wrongful death claim may not exceed $500,000. Noneconomic damages are defined as “subjective losses” that can not be measured monetarily. These are damages such as pain, distress, loss of companionship, loss of comfort; to name just a few examples.

A wrongful death claim will also lead to economic damages being awarded. Economic damages, in contrast to noneconomic damages, are damages that have lead to objectively verifiable economic losses. Medical bills, funeral services, and a verified loss of past or future income are three examples of economic damages that can be awarded in a wrongful death suit.

Punitive damages may also be awarded, but this depends on the case. As per Oregon Revised Statutes section 31.730, for punitive damages to be awarded, there must be clear evidence that the individual or entity who was liable for the wrongful death was malicious in their intent. Alternatively, if there is evidence that the individual displayed a conscious indifference to the health and safety of others, then punitive damages can be awarded.

The state of Oregon practices a modified version of comparative negligence. In a wrongful death claim, if the deceased individual or the individual making the claim was partly at fault for the wrongful death that took place, a wrongful death claim can still be filed. But, the awarded damages will be reduced, depending on just how at fault the deceased individual or individual making the claim was. If the deceased individual was 51% responsible, or more, then damages will not be awarded.

  • The Oregon wrongful death cap may not exceed $500,000
  • The economic damages awarded can exceed $500,000 if they are verified losses – medical bills, for example
  • Punitive damages may be awarded, but that is only if the individual or entity being held liable was intentionally malicious or consciously indifferent to the health and safety of others
  • Since the state of Oregon practices a modified version of comparative negligence, the damages awarded will differ depending on whether or not the deceased individual or claimant was at fault and just how at fault they were

law hammer close up

What Is The Best Way To Proceed With A Wrongful Death Claim?

The best way to proceed with a wrongful death claim is to organize and file the claim as soon as possible. A wrongful death claim may be filed no later than three years after the deceased individual’s final injury. Right after that, it’s important to organize the facts of the case and the damages being sought. Then, an experienced legal attorney should be hired, so that you will be awarded the damages that you deserve.

The state of Oregon’s statute of limitations for wrongful death claims is three years after the deceased individual’s final injury. Because of that, it’s a good idea to organize and file the claim as soon as possible.

Right after that, the facts of the case must be organized. Any economic and noneconomic losses must be recorded. When these facts have been organized, the next best thing to do is to hire an experienced legal attorney.

By hiring an experienced legal attorney, moving through the process of proving fault, establishing economic and non-economic damages, and being awarded the proper damages is much easier. Experienced legal attorneys understand the law, they know how to navigate wrongful death cases, and they know how to fulfill the necessary legal requirements that will allow your case to be a success.

  • The statute of limitations for a wrongful death claim is three years after the deceased individual’s final injury
  • Organizing and filing a wrongful death claim as soon as possible is ideal, due to the statute of limitations
  • The facts of the case and the damages being sought must be cataloged and organized
  • By doing this, you will understand your case, and the legal attorney that you hire will be able to understand your case

For a successful wrongful death claim, hiring an experienced legal attorney like Ryan Hilts is the best choice and will make the process so much easier.

Oregon is a state famous for its rapidly changing weather. This is not often good news for its drivers. Unpredictable weather conditions can spell white-knuckle drives. 

Unfortunately, some Oregon drivers have become so accustomed to precarious driving conditions that they have become complacent about the need to exercise caution. The most common cause of Oregon vehicle accidents, according to Oregon auto insurance data, is drivers moving too quickly for road conditions.

It is vital that, as an Oregon driver, you have sufficient auto insurance coverage. Failure to do so could result in license suspension, hefty fines and/or vehicle confiscation.

oregon auto insurance laws

Motor Vehicle Insurance in the State of Oregon

It is important that you have a at least the minimum of coverage specified by the state. According to Oregon law, you must carry no less than

  • Uninsured motorist coverage of $25,000/person and $50,000 per accident.
  • Personal injury protection of $15,000 a person.
  • $25,000/person and $50,000 per accident bodily harm Injury coverage.
  • Property damage coverage of $20,000 per accident.

Personal Injury Claims in Oregon

Personal injury protection insurance in Oregon is a minimum of $15,000. This covers the costs of reasonable and necessary medical, dental, and related expenses as a result of a vehicle accident.

insurance laws in oregon

Who is at Fault for an Accident in Oregon?

Oregon Auto Insurance Laws outline that the state is a fault plus personal injury protection jurisdiction. The insurance is kind of a no-fault/fault combination. This will determine whose insurance pays for which claims.

The auto insurance laws in Oregon mostly follow a “fault” system. The driver considered legally at fault for causing the accident by the investigating law enforcement officers is legally responsible for paying for all damages caused by the accident. 

It is important to know that the at-fault driver’s insurance is not a bottomless pit. It will pay only up to the amount for which the driver is insured. Oregon sets a minimum coverage. Drivers are encouraged to insure for amounts greater than the minimum. Should damages exceed the driver’s insurance coverage, then the driver who was deemed at-fault in the accident is personally responsible for the balance of the damages.

Now, let’s look at the “no-fault” part of Oregon’s automobile insurance. Drivers must carry a minimum amount of personal injuries. This covers your injuries during the first year after the accident. Oregon insurance law will allow you to bring a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. You can do this before your personal injury limits have been reached.

personal injury protection oregon

Does this sound complicated? Let’s look at an example:

A Portland driver was on 205N. Traffic forced this woman to come to an abrupt stop to avoid ramming vehicles in front of her. Unfortunately, the driver following her was not as quick to react. He braked hard and swerved. His car rear-ended hers.

The woman underwent treatment for her injuries but was not making a quick or full recovery.

An MRI revealed that she had herniated disks and needed back surgery.  Faced with these costs, the woman contacted an Oregon law firm that specialized in personal injury cases.

The attorneys got her the full amount allowed by the other driver’s filed a claim against her insurance company for the limit on her personal injury. Eventually, she was able to claim expenses totaling $150,000 from the fault and no-fault part of her and their insurance.

Insurance claims can be complicated. In order to ensure you get the compensation you need and deserve, it’s important to make sure you have a good attorney who specializes in personal injury insurance claims.

Not all Personal Injury Cases Go to Trial

If you are concerned that your personal injury case might be held up in the courts for months or even years, you should know that not all cases go to trial. There are three other ways you might receive compensation in an Oregon personal injury accident case.

That’s why it is vital to hire an Oregon personal injury lawyer. He/she will help you understand your options and guide you through the personal injury claims process. 

In Oregon, it is common for cases to be settled by negotiation, mediation, or arbitration, thus avoiding the time, labor, and cost of a trial.
Before the arbitration begins, both sides either agree to abide by the arbitrator’s decision or not. In some cases, the arbitration is just a way to get the arbitrator’s view before the trial, to let the lawyers get a sense of how the trial would progress. In most cases, however, the two parties will agree that the arbitrator’s decision is binding.

Why is it wise for all parties to consider other alternatives before going to trial?

Trials take a long time. That means the claimant may wait for months or years for the compensation he/she needs. Not only that, trials are very costly for all parties. Therefore, most cases are settled before a trial is the only alternative. 

If a case goes to trial usually personal injury attorneys receive a higher percentage of claims that are awarded. They must be compensated for their increased time spent on the case if it goes to trial. 

While there is often a bigger settlement if a case goes to trial, the time and expense thus incurred is often not worth it. There is also the possibility that as a claimant you could lose or receive lower settlement than was offered in negotiations, mediation, or arbitration. This is just another reason it is critical to hire a competent and experienced personal injury claims attorney.

Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Claims

Personal injury claims have a deadline for submission. This is called a statute of limitations. In the state of Oregon, personal injury claims must be submitted no later than two years from the date the injury was sustained. In the case of a wrongful death suit, this must be submitted no later than three years after the date of the accident.

oregon insurance claim

Damage Caps in Oregon

Damage caps set a limit on the amount of compensation that a victim can receive in a civil court suit from a personal injury claim. Many states have damage caps. Oregon is one of them. Oregon has a $500,000 limit on personal injury claims. This does not include loss of work and other economic damages which may result from a personal injury.

Seek an Oregon Personal Injury Attorney

Before you file a personal injury claim as a result of an automobile accident where you were not at fault, be sure to consult an Oregon attorney who specializes in personal injury claims. If your lawyer feels you have a legitimate claim he/she will file your case with the Oregon court system.

When dealing with personal injury claims it is crucial to have the services of a law firm that specializes in personal injury claims. Your lawyer will work with you to establish fault and what damages can be claimed. When it comes to making sure you get fair treatment in Oregon Auto Insurance Laws, contact Ryan Hilts Law. For a free consultation or to set up an appointment.

Oregon is a “Fault” State

In Oregon the at-fault insurance company will cover pain and suffering, loss of wages, vehicular damage, medical bills, counseling and more.

You Must Report An Accident Within 72 Hours

The first step you must take after being involved in an accident is to report it. You’ll need to notify the Department of Transportation within 72 hours of the accident. This is found in the Oregon Revised Statutes, Section 811.725. At that time, you’ll also provide evidence of insurance and other necessary forms as required.

A Statute of Limitations Applies to Accident Cases

A statute of limitations relating to personal injury in Oregon applies here. If you’re filing a lawsuit relating to personal injury from an accident, you must do it within two years. If you don’t meet this deadline, you’ll lose the ability to sue.

The Insurance Company Does Not Choose Where You Get Your Vehicle Repaired

During negotiations and proceedings with the car insurance company, they may strongly imply that you must get your car repaired at a shop in their network. Please note that this is not true, and while you can work with a preferred shop of theirs if you are so inclined, you ultimately have a say in where your car is repaired.

What Minimum Coverage Policies Mean For You

In Oregon, you must carry minimum coverage of $25,000 per person, $50,000 per claim with your insurance.

This ensures that if you get into an accident, your insurance company will pay out up to $25,000 per person injured in the other car, with a maximum of $50,000 paid out to any occupants for the accident. However, if you’ve ever been in a serious accident you know that $25,000 doesn’t usually cover a car repair or replacement, medical bills and loss of wages.

Insurance companies know that the courts look very harshly on driving under the influence, which increases the chance that either the driver’s insurance company or lawyers will attempt to settle out of court. Insurance companies will also do their best to whittle this settlement amount down to the lowest figure they can manage to save money. Because of this, it is very important to retain an experienced personal injury attorney to make sure that the settlement figure will adequately cover your tangible and intangible damages.

What to Know About DUI Personal Injury Settlements

What is Included in a Personal Injury Settlement

When you agree to a personal injury settlement, it’s important not to leave any money on the table. Ideally, all your financial losses pertaining to a car accident should be recouped. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Repair or replace for the cost of your vehicle
  • Hospital bills and bills for follow-up visits
  • Therapy and counseling bills in the case of mental or emotional distress
  • Physical therapy costs
  • Lost wages from not being able to work

Financial losses from a car accident don’t just apply to the scene of the accident. After all, the damages from a car accident can be felt for months and even years after the incident.

Do Not Settle Right Away

Because the full damages of a car accident can take months or even years to assess and be fully realized, it is important that you do not settle soon after the accident. Most insurance companies will attempt to pressure you into accepting a settlement immediately. This settlement will often include some type of release of liability. The release of liability will prohibit you from pursuing further injury claims after accepting the settlement. The release of liability form is final, which makes it doubly important that a personal injury attorney looks over the settlement agreement before you sign the document.

It’s also important not to settle right away so that you can assess your health and financial setback from the asset in the months after the accident in case long-term injury manifests itself after your initial treatment.

Begin Preparing Yourself As Soon as Possible

Whether you intend to settle with the insurance company or go to court, it’s important to prepare for either outcome as soon as possible. Collecting detailed records of all incidents, injuries, and bills as soon as you are able will help you and your attorney negotiate for an appropriate amount of damages. 



Any car accident is a stressful and nerve-wracking experience, but being hit by a drunk driver often brings another level of frustration, struggle, and pain and suffering. Not many judges or juries will have sympathy for a drunk driver.

Pain and Suffering Cases

What is Pain and Suffering?

In addition to damages owed for medical expenses related to car accidents, pain and suffering is another type of claim for accident victims. Pain and suffering is mental or physical distress that can be compensated in a personal injury claim. Relevant damages are assessed based on type and gravity of injury and pain suffered, as well as the medical prognosis for future pain resulting from the injuries. Oregon law recognizes pain and suffering for both physical and emotional damages.

pain and suffering hit by drunk driver

Proving Pain and Suffering from Being Hit by Drunk Driver

In order to adequately prove your pain and suffering in a lawsuit, you’ll need to present as much documentation relating to the accident and subsequent injury as possible. Medical files and bills are particularly important for this, as well as prescription notes and receipts. If you visit a counselor, therapist or other service provider for emotional pain and suffering after the car accident, keep correspondence, files and bills from these providers as well. Photos and medical reports of physical injuries, and proof of time and wages lost as a result will also support your claim in court.

In Oregon, claims and lawsuits based on personal injury must be filed within two years. There is also a 180 day tort claim notice requirement if you plan to make a claim against a bar or tavern that served the defendant alcohol. Contacting an attorney immediately can help ensure that all time requirements are met.

“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.”

Hit by Drunk Driver

Steps to Take After Being Hit by Drunk Driver

It may take a few days for the full effects of personal injury to become apparent after an accident. Regardless of your symptoms, it’s important to make sure you have accurate record of the incident in case personal injury symptoms arise or get worse after the accident occurs.

Some steps to take after being hit by a drunk driver:

  • Take pictures of your vehicle and any injuries
  • Collect a copy of the police report
  • Collect a copy of the medical report or notes after visiting a provider
  • Collect the other drivers insurance information, and notify your insurance company
  • Keep a file with all accident related proof and documentation

Retain a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your options and receive guidance on the process. Although damages don’t necessarily vary according to whether a car accident occurred with or without a drunk driver, insurance companies are aware that an accident involving a drunk driver will not garner much sympathy in court and are often willing to pay out higher amounts because of this.

You will want to recoup your losses from the at-fault insurance company after sustaining an injury or damage to your property. This can be done by sending them a settlement package. A settlement package is as a collection of pertinent documentary evidence relating to your injury, typically accompanied by a letter outlining the injuries and economic losses. Insurance Companies won’t pay if you can’t prove that you’ve suffered, so it is important to prepare a proper settlement package.

Settlement Agreement

Employment packages should include proof of the damage that happened.

The package should contain compelling evidence that an injury or some form of damage has taken place. Some of the most valuable types of evidence are photographs and official reports written up by respected authorities. If you’ve talked to a law enforcement officer or seen a doctor about your injury, then you should try and get a written report from them that can go in your package. If you’ve already spent money on treatments or repairs, then you should also include receipts for anything that has come out of your own pockets. Insurance companies don’t want to pay for anything that they don’t absolutely need to, so show them what they absolutely need to pay for.

What is a Settlement Contract

Creating a compelling settlement package takes planning.

Being proactive about documenting any damage or injury that occurs is crucial if you want to receive proper compensation. Gather together all the existing paperwork you can and try and document the damage if possible. You want your package to be a thorough as possible, but you should also be careful about stuffing it full of weak or irrelevant information. It’s easy to think that a bigger stack of paper will look more impressive, but be careful about watering down your case.

Lady Justice

Assistance from a legal professional will help you prepare the best settlement package possible.

In an attempt to save money some people often try to prepare their own settlement package. Investing in the assistance of a legal professional can save you time and money. For starters, they can tell you whether or not you have enough evidence to realistically seek a settlement. They can also help you prepare your case to achieve the maximum possible settlement. A good lawyer will know what should and should not go into a settlement package. If you want to make sure that you get the settlement that you’re owed, then you need a lawyer in your corner who can get you what you deserve.

Car Accident Settlement

The settlement package is the foundation of an insurance claim.

Creating a settlement package is one of the first steps you should take when making an insurance claim and everything that follows after will build on it. You should also remember that it’s an early step in a process that can stretch on. The at-fault insurance company will have to look over your package, run it by their team, and submit their settlement offer. This process can go back and forth many times before both sides are able come to an agreement or end up taking the issue to court.

An experienced lawyer can tell you whether or not the settlement you’re being offered is fair. If you don’t have someone advising you it’s possible that you might accept a lowball offer. It takes expertise and time to get these things right, so get an experienced lawyer on your side.

Do you need help with a settlement package in the state of Oregon? Contact Ryan Hilts today.