Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death in Oregon

Losing somebody that you love is incredibly challenging. Dealing with the loss will inevitably be an extremely emotional and stressful time for you and your family. This is particularly true if your loved one lost their life due to the careless, negligent, or intentional actions of another individual or business. In these situations, family members are permitted to file a lawsuit against the alleged negligent party in order to recover compensation for the loss of their loved one. Here, we want to discuss how long family members have to file lawsuits in these cases. 

Time Limits for Oregon Wrongful Death Claims

Just like personal injury lawsuits, wrongful death claims also must be filed within certain amounts of time. This specific time period is called the statute of limitations. In Oregon, the statute of limitations that applies to the vast majority of wrongful death claims is set at three years from the date of the deceased person’s final injury. If a claim is not filed within this three-year timeframe, family members will be unable to recover the compensation they may be entitled to.

Notice that the law says the claim must be filed within three years from the date of the deceased’s last injury. This is different from the date of death, which is how many states calculate their statute of limitations for these claims. For example, if a person gets into a car accident and does not succumb to their injuries until three weeks later, the wrongful death claim must be filed within three years from the date of the accident occurred, not from the date of death. It is very important for family members in these cases to keep this time frame in mind so that they can get the claim filed before the deadline runs out.

How do Wrongful Death Claims Arise in Oregon?

When we turn to Or. Rev. Stat. § 30.020 (2021), we can see that wrongful death in this state is defined as a death “caused by the wrongful act or omission of another,” when this act or omission would have typically allowed a person to file a personal injury lawsuit, had they survived the incident.

Wrongful death claims can arise in a number of ways, including the following:

  • Car accidents
  • Bicycle or pedestrian accidents
  • Truck accidents
  • Motorcycle accidents
  • Medical malpractice incidents
  • Premises liability incidents
  • Workplace accidents
  • Defective product incidents
  • …and more

This is certainly not an exhaustive list of the ways that wrongful death claims arise. If you think that your loved one lost their life due to the careless or negligent actions of another, please reach out to a skilled wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible so you can get started on your claim.

Working With an Experienced Attorney

Despite the pain that you and your loved ones may experience in this situation, it is crucial that you work with an attorney who can help you make sure that your claim gets filed on time. A skilled Portland wrongful death attorney will have the resources and experience necessary to handle every aspect of these cases on behalf of family members. These claims can become incredibly complicated, but an attorney can help gather evidence to determine liability, handle all communication with other parties involved, and negotiate to reach a fair settlement offer on behalf of grieving family members. If necessary, an attorney can fully prepare to take a wrongful death claim all the way to trial.