Legal matters as they surround personal injury may, on the surface, appear straightforward. A car accident is often assumed to have an “at-fault” driver – although these matters are often much more complex. Car accident injuries can have cascading effects that impact more than those involved in the accident. Family members, for example, can suffer the consequences, as well. When a spouse is unable to return to work, or hospital bills become unmanageable a person maybe suffering without their support or care. Read more about loss of consortium claims in personal injury cases.
What is Loss of Consortium?
The spouse of someone injured or killed in an accident can sue for damages based on loss of consortium. Damages may be claimed under three theories: incurred medical costs or those yet to be incurred by the plaintiff, the loss of an injured spouse’s services, and loss of society (within certain parameters).
Some jurisdictions recognize only spousal consortium (usually considered as sex), others recognize parental consortium (love and affection) and allow children to recover for the death or disability of a parent and vice versa. Since same-sex marriage became available in the United States, courts in that country have extended loss of consortium to these unions.
How Do Loss of Consortium Claims Work?
An injured person’s family members, typically spouses, may be able to recover their own losses in a personal injury or wrongful death case. In general, loss of consortium claims are not awarded unless the injured person dies or suffers a severe, longlasting, or permanent injury.
Usually, these types of losses are considered, or labeled “general” or non-economic damages. Non-economic damages can include:
- Emotional anguish
- Humiliation and embarrassment
- Reputational damage
- Loss of enjoyment of activities
- Worsening of prior injuries
Typically, these kinds of losses (and their monetary value) are left to the discretion of the judge or jury. However, since these kinds of damages are also difficult to quantify, it’s best to consult with a Oregon personal injury attorney to verify or review precise monetary value for a loss of consortium claim or possible outcomes for your specific case.
Determining Loss of Consortium
There are many reasons to determine whether a loss of consortium claim may be warranted. Perhaps a spouse is suffering in a hospital after a major car crash. Disability may also be a cause of stress and worry after a catastrophic slip-and-fall event. Regardless of the situation, if your spouse was seriously hurt in an accident due to no fault of their own, your spouse probably isn’t the only one suffering.
As the husband or wife of an injured spouse, you have probably lost numerous spousal benefits, like loss of affection, loss of companionship, loss of spousal services and other types of losses. Having suffered these losses of spousal benefits, you may have the right to pursue financial claims against the party at fault for the accident. It’s important to discuss options with a qualified and experienced injury lawyer.
Proving A Claim
In order to receive financial compensation for losses of spousal benefit due to loss of consortium, including your name in the claim will be important. Since a loss of consortium claim is usually handled in addition to an existing injury suit, it’s important to qualify losses as they apply to the spouse suffering. For example, you will make various demands relating the spousal benefits lost.
The difficult part of any suit is proving loss and suffering. An experience injury lawyer will know how to properly document and file each form of loss. In order to gather evidence, it’s important to understand what to consider as a “loss.”
Unlike other areas of law, there’s no specific test or set of rules used to prove or calculate loss of consortium damages. The court would likely look at these and additional factors that can include:
- Whether the marriage is loving and stable
- If married couples lived with one another full time
- Evidence that your spouse provided you with care and companionship
- Proof or medical documentation and expert evidence that offers an estimated life expectancy
- Various household services that your spouse performed prior to accident
- Various activities that you and your spouse enjoyed together
Ryan Hilts Attorney At Law
If you believe you have a viable loss of consortium claim, it’s important to consult with a personal injury attorney in Oregon. Ryan Hilts provides supportive services for clients who have suffered from accidents, negligence, and more. In addition, our law firm has also represented family members who have suffered as a result of negligence. We can provide a free initial consultation and discuss possible compensation or viability for your loss of consortium claim.
We can help in the following injury cases:
For more information contact us directly at (503) 726-5960.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.