Portland Wrongful Death Lawyers
When someone you love dies because of the negligence or recklessness of another, you feel more than grief. You feel victimized and wronged – this is an unfair burden to stack onto your sorrow. This is why families often decide to take legal action to hold the responsible party accountable under the law.
If you are considering taking this step, an experienced Portland wrongful death lawyer can guide you through the entire process. These lawsuits compensate the survivors of the deceased for their expenses, including medical bills, funeral costs, lost income, and in some cases punitive damages. Holding the responsible party financially accountable is an important step because it can help prevent other families from losing loved ones in the future due to the same type of negligence. Of course, compensation will never change what happened. However, it can be a very important part of helping families deal with the financial and emotional effects of a loved one’s passing.
Schedule your free, no obligation legal consultation today to learn more about your legal options after the loss of a loved one. If you have a case and want to pursue it, you will not owe us anything unless you receive compensation.
Our firm was founded in 2001 by Richard Rizk and we serve people throughout the Portland area. Rizk is the president of the South Portland Business Association.
Wrongful Death Laws in Portland, Oregon
According to Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS) 30.020, a wrongful death is a death caused by the wrongful act or omission of another. In other words, a wrongful death is one that is caused by an intentional, negligent or reckless act by another person or entity.
These claims are just like personal injury claims except the victim is not alive to pursue legal action. If the victim would have had cause for legal action had he or she survived, his or her family members likely have grounds to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Wrongful deaths are caused by a variety of situations, including:
- Car accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Motocycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Truck accidents
- Product liability
- Slip and fall accidents
- Nursing home abuse
- Defective medical equipment
- Medical malpractice
- Drowning accidents
- Nursing home neglect
- Workplace injuries
- Construction accidents
- Skiing accidents
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Since the victim of negligence cannot take legal action, his or her personal representative can file suit for the benefit of the:
- Surviving spouse
- Surviving children
- Surviving parents
- Others who are under the law of intestate succession in the state of the decedent’s domicile would be entitled to inherit the deceased’s property
The personal representative is often one of the decedent’s family members. Sometimes it is someone else who was appointed by the decedent before he or she died.
Types of Wrongful Death Damages
You can pursue a variety of compensation for the damages caused by your loved one’s death. This could include reasonable charges for:
- Doctors’ services
- Hospital services
- Nursing services
- Other medical services
These are expenses that are incurred prior to your loved one’s death. For example, if your loved one suffered an injury and this led to his or her death, your wrongful death lawsuit may provide compensation for the medical bills incurred after the injury.
Oregon law also allows you to pursue compensation for reasonable burial and funeral services.
You can also pursue compensation for the following, for the period between injury and death:
- Loss of income
The decedent’s spouse, children, stepchildren, stepparents and parents may also be entitled to compensation for:
- Pecuniary loss – These are monetary losses caused by the decedent’s death, such as earnings from work.
- Loss of society, companionship and services – This covers the value of services provided by the decedent, such as child care and maintenance and care of the home.
In some cases, you could be entitled to punitive damages. However, this is reserved for cases of extreme or intentional negligence. These damages are not linked to specific losses you suffered. They are intended to punish the perpetrator and deter similar conduct by others in the future.
How Do You Prove Wrongful Death?
Establishing a claim for wrongful death is comparable to establishing a claim for personal injury damages when there is no loss of life. Therefore, it is essential to gather evidence to prove that another party’s actions led to your loved one’s death, and consequently, a swift and comprehensive investigation must be conducted immediately.
Based on the type of claim, like, for example, whether it involves a car crash or medical negligence, the investigation may include the following components:
- Acquiring phone or medical records
- A forensic examination at the accident scene
- Collaborating with medical experts
- Finding surveillance footage
There are various methods used to gather evidence to bring a wrongful death claim. The aim is to build a case that proves the four critical elements of a wrongful death case.
What Are the Elements of a Wrongful Death Case?
To successfully bring a wrongful death claim in Portland, it is essential to demonstrate the following four elements:
In a wrongful death case, it is critical to demonstrate that the loss of your loved one was either wholly or in part caused by the reckless, careless, or negligent acts of the defendant (the person who caused the death).
2. Breach of Duty
For a successful wrongful death case, you must demonstrate that the defendant owed a duty of care to your loved one. For instance, every Portland driver has a duty of care to follow traffic laws and operate their vehicles safely. Likewise, medical physicians and health care providers have a duty of care to preserve their patient’s health.
You must be able to establish how the defendant’s duty of care existed and that this duty was violated due to their negligent acts.
Further, to establish that the defendant breached their duty of care which they owed your loved one, you must demonstrate how the defendant’s negligence caused their death.
Along with demonstrating the cause of the accident, you will also have to quantify your family’s losses. In addition to other factors, this may involve assessing medical costs, income losses, and other out-of-pocket expenses. Further, you will have to calculate a suitable dollar amount on the pain, suffering, and emotional trauma your loved one experienced leading up to their death. Some family members may be entitled to damages for their non-monetary losses, such as the loss of companionship.
Cap on Damages
While there are many forms of compensation you could be entitled in a wrongful death lawsuit, there is a cap of $500,000 on the amount of noneconomic damages you can recover (ORS 31.710). Non-economic damages include things like pain and suffering and disability.
Determining the full value of the damages in your wrongful death lawsuit is a complicated, time-consuming process. Our Portland wrongful death lawyers are prepared to handle it for you. We know how to accurately assess damages and are committed to aggressively pursuing all that you are owed.
Contact a wrongful death lawyer in Portland right now by calling 503.245.5677.
Important Things to Keep in Mind When Filing a Wrongful Death Case
Coping with the sudden and untimely death of a family member is an incredibly challenging task that no one should have to bear. Losing your loved one can be extremely painful, and your whole life may turn upside down.
We understand that filing a wrongful death lawsuit is painful, but it is crucial. Although you cannot bring back your lost loved one by filing a wrongful death lawsuit against the individual whose reckless and negligent actions led to your loss, you can certainly hold them responsible. In addition, filing a wrongful death claim ensures that the defendant will receive the penalty they deserve.
It is essential to keep in mind that the legal process will take some time, and you must not neglect to care for yourself during this period. Compassionate and skilled Rizk Law wrongful death lawyers will do everything in our power to make this process simple and stress-free for you and your family.
How Much Time Do I Have to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Contacting an attorney as soon as possible after a loved one’s death is a crucial step. If you wait, important evidence could disappear. Also, if the responsible company is chronically negligent, you could find yourself at the end of a long line of lawsuits. By contacting an attorney quickly, he or she can lay out a plan that protects your rights and allows you and your family to take time to deal with your loss. The sooner you contact us, the more time we have to thoroughly investigate and build a case.
Another reason to contact a Portland wrongful death attorney quickly is that there are deadlines for taking legal action over a loved one’s death. According to Oregon’s wrongful death statute, legal action must be taken within three years from the date the injury caused your loved one’s death was discovered or should have been reasonably discovered by the decedent, his or her personal representative, or the person who would benefit from the wrongful death lawsuit. This section of the law is also known as the wrongful death statute of limitations.
In some cases, the date of death and the date of the injury are the same. However, sometimes the injury does not cause death right away. No matter when the victim dies, the date of injury is the key to determining when the statute of limitations begins to run. If you miss the deadline, you will be prohibited from taking legal action.
Contact a Portland wrongful death attorney today for a free legal consultation.
Get the Help You Need by Contacting a Portland Wrongful Death Lawyer
If you want to take legal action over the loss of your loved one, you need an attorney you can trust. The attorneys at Rizk Law understand the grief and sorrow families experience when a loved one is taken away due to negligence.
Our wrongful death attorneys in Portland can review your situation in a free, no obligation legal consultation. We can carefully evaluate what happened and determine the legal options you may have and the compensation you may be entitled. There is no risk to you in contacting us because we do not charge for our services unless you are compensated.
We want you to focus on being with your family during this difficult time, not on legal issues. That is why you can count on us to manage the entire legal process on your behalf.
Call Rizk Law at 503.245.5677 for a free consultation.