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Portland Personal Injury Lawyers / Blog / Personal Injury / What is a Wrongful Death Suit?

What is a Wrongful Death Suit?


It is not uncommon for wrongful death suits and criminal cases to intertwine when a victim is killed. Indeed, in some situations, there is overlap, where a criminal act was committed that led to a death, and coincidingly, the loved ones of the deceased act on their own to sue the alleged assailant. 

 However, there is a big difference between wrongful death and criminal cases. Primarily, wrongful death cases are civil suits and, as a result, are meant to recover specific losses that the decedent’s statutorily defined beneficiaries suffer. By contrast, criminal cases are meant to penalize criminal actions with fines, jail time, or other punishments.

 If you lost a loved one because of another party’s actions, then your loved one’s estate may be able to recover compensation through a wrongful death suit. Speaking with a Portland wrongful death lawyer at Rosenbaum Law Group can help you understand what your options are when it comes to taking action and obtaining compensation.

 How Do Wrongful Death Claims Work? 

In Oregon, as is true for many other states across the nation, the most common reasons for wrongful deaths occurring and wrongful death suits include: 

●      Motor vehicle accidents

●      Medical malpractice

●      Slip and fall accidents

●      Workplace accidents

●      Product liability incidents

●      Violent crime

 Across the nation, each state has its own rules for how wrongful death suits operate. This includes who can file such actions, what steps must be taken, what compensation can be sought, who may be compensated out of these funds, and how long before one must take legal action.

 Oregon’s wrongful death statute of limitations is usually three years from when a person dies of their injuries. That means that in most cases if legal action is not taken within the statute of limitations, the decedent’s estate will be unable to secure financial compensation.  There are unique situations that may modify this time frame.

 Not just anyone can file a wrongful death suit in Oregon. It is the personal representative or the executor of the deceased’s estate who is allowed to start the process. When a person has their estate plan in place (for example, they have a last will and testament) there is a good likelihood that they have named who the executor or personal representative is, in that document. When there is no such document, the Estate may seek court approval of a specific appropriate person to serve as a personal representative to pursue a wrongful death claim.

 There are various types of compensation that a wrongful death claim can seek. They may consist of any or all the following: 

●      Medical expenses

●      Funeral expenses

●      Lost wages and benefits that the deceased may have earned in their life

●      Loss of society and companionship

●      Punitive damages

 In addition to wrongful death claims, Oregon also allows the estate of the deceased to take legal action, too. A survival action may be filed which is a legal action that could have been filed if the deceased were still alive. 

 Speak to an Oregon Wrongful Death Attorney Today 

Death is always tragic, and when it is unexpected it can be even more distressing. When a loved one is lost due to the negligence of another party, financial compensation may be available by way of filing a wrongful death action. 

 For more information, please call a Portland, OR, personal injury attorney at Rosenbaum Law Group today at (503) 288-8000 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.



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