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Oregon Personal Injury Lawyer

 

 

 

 

Oregon Personal Injury Lawyer

 

Wrongful Death Act

 

Oregon personal injury lawyer Robert Wolf has the experience, results, and compassion necessary for handling complex wrongful death claims.

 

Although it may be difficult, it is important to contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible in order to preserve evidence, interview witnesses and and build the best possible case to protect the rights of the family members left behind.

 

Time is also of the essence as there are statutes which limit the amount of time you have to file a legal claim.

 

Although it is a difficult time and no amount of money will truly compensate you and your family for a loved one's death, the compensation can help protect you and your family's future. Wrongful death act claims can include compensation for future anticipated earnings, medical expenses, funeral and burial expense, loss of companionship, care protection, lost benefits like pension, insurance, and the pain and suffering, lost consortium of the survivors, as well as mental anguish, and in certain cases punitive damages.

 

The Oregon Wrongful Death Statute

 

ACTIONS FOR INJURY OR DEATH

 

      30.010 Who may maintain action for injury or death of child. (1) A parent having custody of a child of the parent may maintain an action for the injury of the child.

      (2) A parent may recover damages for the death of a child of the parent only under ORS 30.020. [Amended by 1961 c.344 §102; 1973 c.718 §1; 2003 c.14 §16]

 

      30.020 Action for wrongful death; when commenced; damages. (1) When the death of a person is caused by the wrongful act or omission of another, the personal representative of the decedent, for the benefit of the decedent’s surviving spouse, surviving children, surviving parents and other individuals, if any, who under the law of intestate succession of the state of the decedent’s domicile would be entitled to inherit the personal property of the decedent, and for the benefit of any stepchild or stepparent whether that stepchild or stepparent would be entitled to inherit the personal property of the decedent or not, may maintain an action against the wrongdoer, if the decedent might have maintained an action, had the decedent lived, against the wrongdoer for an injury done by the same act or omission. The action shall be commenced within three years after the injury causing the death of the decedent is discovered or reasonably should have been discovered by the decedent, by the personal representative or by a person for whose benefit the action may be brought under this section if that person is not the wrongdoer. In no case may an action be commenced later than the earliest of:

      (a) Three years after the death of the decedent; or

      (b) The longest of any other period for commencing an action under a statute of ultimate repose that applies to the act or omission causing the injury, including but not limited to the statutes of ultimate repose provided for in ORS 12.110 (4), 12.115, 12.135, 12.137 and 30.905.

      (2) In an action under this section damages may be awarded in an amount which:

      (a) Includes reasonable charges necessarily incurred for doctors’ services, hospital services, nursing services, other medical services, burial services and memorial services rendered for the decedent;

      (b) Would justly, fairly and reasonably have compensated the decedent for disability, pain, suffering and loss of income during the period between injury to the decedent and the decedent’s death;

      (c) Justly, fairly and reasonably compensates for pecuniary loss to the decedent’s estate;

      (d) Justly, fairly and reasonably compensates the decedent’s spouse, children, stepchildren, stepparents and parents for pecuniary loss and for loss of the society, companionship and services of the decedent; and

      (e) Separately stated in finding or verdict, the punitive damages, if any, which the decedent would have been entitled to recover from the wrongdoer if the decedent had lived.

      (3) For the purposes of this section:

      (a) Two persons shall be considered to have a stepchild-stepparent relationship if one of the biological parents of the stepchild, while the stepchild is a minor and in the custody of this first biological parent, marries the stepparent who is not the second biological parent or the adoptive parent of the stepchild;

      (b) The stepchild-stepparent relationship shall remain in effect even though the stepchild is older than the age of majority or has been emancipated;

      (c) The stepchild-stepparent relationship shall remain in effect even though one or both of the biological parents of the stepchild die; and

      (d) The stepchild-stepparent relationship shall end upon the divorce of the biological parent and the stepparent. [Amended by 1953 c.600 §3; 1961 c.437 §1; 1967 c.544 §1; 1973 c.718 §2; 1991 c.471 §1; 1991 c.608 §1; 1995 c.618 §19]

 

      30.030 Distribution of damages. (1) Upon settlement of a claim, or recovery of judgment in an action, for damages for wrongful death, by the personal representative of a decedent under ORS 30.020, the amount of damages so accepted or recovered shall be distributed in the manner prescribed in this section.

      (2) The personal representative shall make payment or reimbursement for costs, expenses and fees incurred in prosecution or enforcement of the claim, action or judgment.

      (3) The personal representative shall make payment or reimbursement for reasonable charges necessarily incurred for doctors’ services, hospital services, nursing services or other medical services, burial services and memorial services rendered for the decedent.

      (4) If under ORS 30.040 or 30.050 or by agreement of the beneficiaries a portion of the damages so accepted or recovered is apportioned to a beneficiary as recovery for loss described in ORS 30.020 (2)(d), the personal representative shall distribute that portion to the beneficiary.

      (5) The remainder of damages accepted or recovered shall be distributed to the beneficiaries in the proportions prescribed under the laws of intestate succession of the state of decedent’s domicile, or as agreed by the beneficiaries, but no such damages shall be subject to payment of taxes or claims against the decedent’s estate. [Amended by 1973 c.718 §3; 2009 c.51 §1]

 

      30.040 Apportionment among dependents upon settlement. Except when all beneficiaries otherwise agree, if settlement, with or without action, is effected and there is more than one beneficiary, the amount to be distributed to each beneficiary as recovery for loss described in ORS 30.020 (2)(d) shall be apportioned by the probate court to each beneficiary in accordance with the beneficiary’s loss. [Amended by 1973 c.718 §4]

 

      30.050 Apportionment among dependents after judgment. Except when all beneficiaries otherwise agree, if the action described in ORS 30.020 is brought, and a judgment for the plaintiff is given, and there is more than one beneficiary, the amount to be distributed to each beneficiary as recovery for loss described in ORS 30.020 (2)(d) shall be apportioned by the trial court to each beneficiary in accordance with the beneficiary’s loss. [Amended by 1973 c.718 §5]

 

      30.060 Appeal from order of distribution or apportionment. In the case of an order of distribution under ORS 30.030 (5) or an order of apportionment made under either ORS 30.040 or 30.050, any individual who in the probate court or trial court claims to be a beneficiary may appeal therefrom, or from any part thereof, to the Court of Appeals, within the time, in the manner and with like effect as though such order was a judgment of the circuit court. [Amended by 1973 c.718 §6]

 

      30.070 Settlement; discharge of claim. The personal representative of the decedent, with the approval of the court of appointment, shall have full power to compromise and settle any claim of the class described in ORS 30.030, whether the claim is reduced to judgment or not, and to execute such releases and other instruments as may be necessary to satisfy and discharge the claim. The party paying any such claim or judgment, whether in full or in part, or in an amount agreed upon in compromise, shall not be required to see that the amount paid is applied or apportioned as provided in ORS 30.030 to 30.060, but shall be fully discharged from all liability on payment to the personal representative.

 

      30.075 Procedure upon death of injured person. (1) Causes of action arising out of injuries to a person, caused by the wrongful act or omission of another, shall not abate upon the death of the injured person, and the personal representatives of the decedent may maintain an action against the wrongdoer, if the decedent might have maintained an action, had the decedent lived, against the wrongdoer for an injury done by the same act or omission. The action shall be commenced within the limitations established in ORS 12.110 by the injured person and continued by the personal representatives under this section, or within three years by the personal representatives if not commenced prior to death.

      (2) In any such action the court may award to the prevailing party, at trial and on appeal, a reasonable amount to be fixed by the court as attorney fees.

      (3) Subsection (2) of this section does not apply to an action for damages arising out of injuries that result in death. If an action for wrongful death under ORS 30.020 is brought, recovery of damages for disability, pain, suffering and loss of income during the period between injury to the decedent and the resulting death of the decedent may only be recovered in the wrongful death action, and the provisions of subsection (2) of this section are not applicable to the recovery. [1965 c.620 §4; 1971 c.473 §2; 1981 c.810 §1; 1981 c.897 §6; 1995 c.618 §21]

 

      30.080 Effect of death of wrongdoer. Claims for relief arising out of injury to or death of a person, caused by the wrongful act or negligence of another, shall not abate upon the death of the wrongdoer, and the injured person or the personal representatives of the one meeting death, as above stated, shall have a claim for relief against the personal representatives of the wrongdoer as if the wrongdoer had survived, except for those damages provided for in ORS 30.020 (2)(e). [Amended by 1953 c.600 §3; 1961 c.437 §2; 1967 c.544 §2; 1973 c.742 §1; 1983 c.662 §1]

 

      30.085 [1987 c.774 §10; 1997 c.734 §1; renumbered 30.698 in 1997]

 

      30.090 Appointment of administrator of estate of wrongdoer. If no probate of the estate of the wrongdoer has been instituted within 60 days from the death of the wrongdoer, the court, upon motion of the injured person, or of the personal representatives of one meeting death, as stated in ORS 30.080, shall appoint an administrator of the estate of the wrongdoer.

 

      30.100 Substitution of personal representative as party defendant. In the event of the death of a wrongdoer, as designated in ORS 30.080, while an action is pending, the court, upon motion of the plaintiff, shall cause to be substituted as defendant the personal representative of the wrongdoer, and the action shall continue against such personal representative.