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Wrongful Death Attorney in Portland, Oregon

There are not many situations in a person’s life that are as traumatic and devastating as the death of a family member. A death in the family as a result of someone else can be one of the worst experiences you can go through in your life. If this sounds like your situation, I offer you my sincerest condolences.

As a wrongful death attorney at Wallace Law Firm, P.C., I am committed to helping grieving families who lost a loved one in Portland and throughout Oregon, including Eugene and Salem. While no one can undo the damage, you can seek justice and get financial relief by suing the negligent party for wrongful death.

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Why File a Wrongful Death Claim?

Many people who lost a family member because of someone else’s negligent conduct wonder, “Can I sue that person for the negligence that caused my loved one’s death?” Others, however, do not understand how filing a wrongful death claim can help them cope with their tragic loss.

Yes, filing a wrongful death claim cannot bring back your loved one. Nonetheless, suing the negligent party for wrongful death can:

  1. Get you the justice you need. Realizing that your loved one died because of someone else’s negligent conduct can be devastating. To correct this injustice, you can file a wrongful death claim against the negligent party to hold them accountable for what happened.  

  2. Get closure. Suing a negligent party for your loved one’s death offers you the opportunity to get some kind of closure, which may be what your family needs to get through this challenging time.

  3. Obtain financial compensation. While no money in the world can ever make up for your loss, filing a wrongful death lawsuit allows you to recover compensation for your financial losses and expenses. 

If you lost a loved one and want to understand whether or not you can file a wrongful death claim in your specific case, you must consult with an experienced attorney. At Wallace Law Firm, P.C., I offer free consultations to Oregon residents.

What Constitutes Wrongful Death in Oregon?

Multnomah County, which includes Portland, accounts for the highest number of deaths in the state of Oregon. According to a 2020 report by the Department of Human Services and Oregon Health Authority, Multnomah County had the highest death rate compared to other counties in the state.

Oregon law defines the term “wrongful death” as a death resulting from someone else’s wrongful act or omission. In other words, family members can recover damages when someone else’s wrongful act or omission would have permitted the deceased to pursue a personal injury claim had they lived.

Wrongful death claims in Oregon can be the result of someone else’s negligent conduct, intentional act, or medical malpractice. Like with personal injury lawsuits, Oregon law allows claimants to file claims within a limited period of time. Wrongful death lawsuits must be filed within the statute of limitations, which is three years from the date of the deceased person’s final injury in Oregon. The statute of limitations may be different under certain circumstances, which is why it makes sense to consult with a wrongful death attorney in Portland, Oregon.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Oregon?

Unlike in personal injury cases, the person who suffered a fatal injury cannot bring a wrongful death claim. Some states allow the deceased person’s family members to file a wrongful death claim, but Oregon is not one of those states. Under Oregon law, a wrongful death claim must be filed by the personal representative of the decedent’s estate. Typically, personal representatives are named in a person’s last will and testament. However, if the decedent did not leave behind a will, a court will appoint a personal representative of the estate.

What Needs to Be Proven to
Constitute Wrongful Death?

The elements for proving a wrongful death claim are similar to personal injury claims in Oregon. When filing a wrongful death claim, the claimant must demonstrate evidence proving that another party’s wrongful act or omission caused the decedent’s death. For this reason, conducting a prompt and in-depth investigation after your loved one’s death may be necessary to collect as much evidence as possible. When suing someone for wrongful death, the personal representative of the estate must also prove the extent of the surviving family members’ losses.

Damages Available

When a wrongful death claim is successful, the court will award damages to compensate the surviving family members for their losses. Some of the damages available in wrongful death cases include:

  • Burial and funeral expenses

  • Medical losses as a result of the decedent’s final injury

  • The deceased person’s lost wages due to the final injury

  • The loss of support

  • The loss of companionship and society

Oregon courts may also award additional compensation known as punitive damages in wrongful death cases where the death was the result of the defendant’s intentional or extremely negligent actions. Punitive damages are meant to punish defendants for particularly egregious conduct and defer the defendant and others from engaging in similar conduct in the future.

Wrongful Death Attorney
Serving Portland, Oregon

Losing a loved one is an emotional time for everyone in the family. At Wallace Law Firm, P.C., I understand how devastating a wrongful death can be for surviving family members, which is why I am committed to providing comprehensive legal assistance to help families receive compensation and get justice. Whether you lost a loved one in Portland or other parts of the state of Oregon, including Salem and Eugene, reach out to my office today to discuss your case.