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Portland Wrongful Death Lawyer

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The loss of a family member is always a devastating experience, but it can be especially challenging if they die due to someone else’s actions. In Oregon, car accidents alone claimed the lives of 502 people in 2018, according to the state Department of Transportation.

There’s no way to bring back someone who’s suffered a wrongful death, but there are still legal options available to surviving family members. A wrongful death claim can help you recoup some of the financial losses you’ve suffered because of your family member’s untimely death, as well as provide a means to hold the person responsible for their death accountable.

The Portland, OR, wrongful death lawyers at Siefman Law LLC have more than a decade of experience and have helped hundreds of people with their legal needs. Our Portland personal injury attorneys would be honored to represent you in a wrongful death claim, and you can get a free initial consultation today by calling (503) 395-2135 or visiting our contact page.

What is a Wrongful Death?

Under Section 30.020 of the Oregon Revised Statutes, a wrongful death is defined as any death caused by the “wrongful act or omission of another.” In other words, someone is considered to have died a wrongful death if their death was caused by some sort of negligence.

Negligence can involve intentional acts, such as a physical assault or shooting, as well as accidental actions, such as drunk driving or distracted driving accidents. Negligence can also involve someone failing to act when required to do so, such as certain forms of medical malpractice.

The bottom line is that when a party’s negligence, wrongdoing, or recklessness leads to the death of another person, the deceased’s death may be considered wrongful under Oregon law.

Common Causes of Wrongful Deaths in Portland, OR

There are many different ways someone can suffer a wrongful death, but some of the most common causes include:

  • Motor-vehicle accidents – All drivers have a responsibility to follow the rules of the road and drive in a safe manner to avoid injuring or killing other drivers, bicyclists, or pedestrians. If someone is killed in a car accident and the other driver acted wrongly in some way, such as driving while impaired or driving while distracted, then the deceased’s family may have a case for a wrongful death claim. It should be noted that motor-vehicle accidents include car accidents as well as motorcycle accidents, truck accidents, bicycle accidents, and pedestrian accidents.
  • Premises liability injuries – Property owners and managers have certain responsibilities toward tenants and customers, including maintaining a safe environment in the common areas of property they own or manage. Unfortunately, many property owners don’t take these responsibilities as seriously as they should, which can lead to accidental injuries or a wrongful death. Slip-and-fall accidents, swimming pool accidents, inadequate security at a residential property, and poorly maintained sidewalks are common forms of property owner negligence that can lead to a wrongful death.
  • Medical malpractice – Doctors, nurses, lab technicians, and other medical professionals are obligated to minimize the potential harm to anyone under their care. Medical professionals can make mistakes, however, and those mistakes can prove fatal. Some examples of medical malpractice that can lead to a wrongful death include a missed or delayed diagnosis, medication errors, errors during surgery, misinterpreting lab results, failure to properly monitor patients, and birth injuries.
  • Defective products – There are many products people use every day that can prove fatal if there’s some sort of flaw with the products. A defective medication may have unintended side effects, for example, or a car may have a potentially fatal mechanical defect. If a product has a manufacturing or design defect, or if consumers aren’t adequately warned about the risks of using the product, then there may be a case for a wrongful death claim.
  • Intentional acts of violence – Physical assaults, stabbing, shootings, and related acts can all lead to someone’s untimely death, even if death was not the goal of whoever committed the act. While criminal penalties, such as jail time, would be imposed in a separate criminal case, the deceased’s surviving family members can seek compensation for their losses through a wrongful death claim in civil court.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Oregon?

In most states, the deceased’s immediate family members – their surviving spouse, children, parents, etc. – are eligible to file a claim, as is the representative of the deceased’s estate. In Oregon, however, only the personal representative of the deceased’s estate may file a wrongful death claim. In the event the deceased filed a personal injury claim and died before the case reached its conclusion, the personal representative of the deceased’s estates can continue that claim on behalf of the deceased.

Compensation in a Wrongful Death Claim

Oregon law allows surviving family members to potentially recover significant compensation in the event of someone’s wrongful death, including compensation for:

  • The deceased’s medical bills from the time they were injured until their death
  • Funeral and burial costs
  • Lost wages and other financial benefits the deceased may have earned had they lived
  • The pain and suffering the deceased endured prior to their death
  • The surviving family members’ loss of companionship and financial support

Time Limits for Wrongful Death Claims in Portland, OR

All personal injury claims in Oregon, including wrongful death claims, are subject to time limits outlined in the state’s statute of limitations. This means that the personal representative of the deceased’s estate has three years from the date of death to file a claim on behalf of any surviving family members. If you wait any longer than three years to file a claim, you will most likely be barred from recovering any compensation.

Contact a Portland, OR, Wrongful Death Attorney

Filing a lawsuit when you’re grieving may sound like an overwhelming task, but a wrongful death claim can help you recover the resources you need to cover the expenses and losses related to your family member’s untimely death. A knowledgeable wrongful death attorney can take care of most of the legal work on your behalf while you and the rest of your family focus on healing from your loss.

To learn more about how Siefman Law LLC can help you with a wrongful death claim, call (503) 395-2135 or visit our contact page for a free initial consultation.

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