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Time Limits For Wrongful Death Lawsuits In Oregon

If you plan on pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit in the state of Oregon, it is vital that you talk to a lawyer right away about your legal options. There are statutes of limitations in place that make it essential that you don't delay starting the legal process. Here is how the statute of limitations generally works in wrongful death lawsuits in the state of Oregon.

It's About The Incident Date, Not The Death Date

In the state of Oregon, the statute of limitation clock starts ticking before your loved one dies. The statute of limitations, which is generally three years in the state of Oregon, actually starts with the incident in question that caused or contributed to your loved one's death.

For example, if your loved one was injured by a falling object on a job site, and then spent thirty days in the hospital trying to recover from the injury before ultimately passing away, the statute of limitation clock would start on the date your loved one sustained the injury that ultimately took their life, not on the date that they passed away. 

As another example, if your loved one had a medical procedure go horrible wrong, but was able to live for another year before they ultimately passed away, the statute of limitation for your case would have begun on the date that medical procedure occurred, even though it was a year prior to your loved one's passing.

A lawyer can help you determine what the incident date and exactly how long you have to move forward with a wrongful death lawsuit. 

Sometimes It's About When The Injury Was Discovered

The statute of limitation is not cut and dry though. Sometimes, it is about when an injury is discovered. Using the previous example above, if your loved one underwent a surgery that seemed successful at the time, but it is later discovered that the surgery caused undetected internal injuries, the date where your statute of limitation clock for filing a wrongful death lawsuit would begin on the day that the consequences of the surgery were discovered, not on the date that the surgery occurred. 

The key element to keep in mind here is that a judge or jury gets to determine if the date that you and your loved one found out about the injury was reasonable, and if that is when the clock should start on your ability to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the party in question. 

Talk to an attorney like Elliott & MacLean LLP right away about the circumstances surrounding your loved one's death and work together to figure out when your statute of limitation clock started, and how long you have left to file a lawsuit.