Punitive damages are determined by juries in Oregon. Despite recent efforts in some states to limit the scope of punitive damages available to litigants in court cases, the Oregon Courts have consistently allowed large punitive damage awards, if the jury has evidence to conclude that the conduct was sufficiently reprehensible. In this regard, the Oregon Courts give great deference to the jury’s determination of what is appropriate. They will not independently overrule the jury because they have come to a different conclusion about what is appropriate. Although the evidence in support of punitive damages must be clear and convincing, the standard of proof “relates how a jury weighs the evidence, not to how a trial court assesses the capability of the evidence to establish facts.” See Faber v. Asplundh Tree Expert, 106 Or App 601, 606, 810 P2d 384, rev den, 312 Or 80 (1991). Also see Bolt v. Influence, Inc. 333 Or 572, 578 n 2, 43 P3d 425 (2002).
If you have been injured in a car crash, you may decide to navigate the insurance claim process yourself and negotiate your own settlement. However, there are a number of things to consider before doing so. Most importantly, your focus should be on your medical treatment and recovery from your injuries, not dealing with the insurance companies. Furthermore, chances are you will receive a greater settlement if you hire a personal injury lawyer.