Losing a loved one is one of the most devastating events that can happen in a person’s life. If you recently found out that your family member passed away in an unexpected accident, such as a fatal car crash or workplace disaster, you are most likely feeling overwhelmed and unsure of how to proceed. If someone else negligently caused your loved one’s death, however, you may need to take legal action swiftly to avoid missing your statute of limitations.
What Is a Statute of Limitations?
A statute of limitations is a law that imposes a maximum time limit for a party to initiate a legal cause of action. Statutes of limitations change from state to state, as well as by type of case. The purpose of a statute of limitations is to encourage plaintiffs to file their claims in a timely manner. This serves the justice system by protecting the integrity of available evidence, as well as preventing the possibility of a lawsuit dangling over a defendant’s head indefinitely.
What Is the Statute of Limitations on a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Oregon?
In Oregon, the statute of limitations on most wrongful death claims is three years. This deadline is established in Oregon Revised Statute Section 30.020. This may give you more or less time to file than in other states, but in no case is the time limit longer than the earliest of three years from the death. This timeline may be further shortened by other applicable Oregon statutes of limitations. This can be confusing, so it is best to consult with an attorney right away to describe your specific set of facts.
Are There Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations?
Yes, but they are rare and should not be counted on by a claimant. In some scenarios, the courts will toll, or extend, a deadline to file a wrongful death claim due to extenuating circumstances.
What Happens if You Miss Your Statute of Limitations?
It is very important not to miss your statute of limitations when filing a wrongful death claim in Oregon. Filing after your three-year window has ended will most likely result in the courts refusing to hear your case. This means you will be unable to recover financial compensation for your loved one’s death. The courts take filing deadlines seriously and only rarely grant exceptions to the rule. This is why you should contact a wrongful death attorney in Oregon about a potential lawsuit as soon as possible.
How to File a Wrongful Death Claim in Oregon
According to state law, a wrongful death is defined as one caused by the wrongful act or omission of another when this action would have allowed the decedent to file a personal injury lawsuit had he or she survived. If you believe your family has grounds to file a wrongful death claim in Oregon and are within your statute of limitations, begin the process by contacting an attorney near you.
A lawyer will help you complete and submit the required claims paperwork by Oregon’s filing deadline. According to state law, the only party that has the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit is the personal representative of the decedent’s estate. This individual may have been named in a will or could be appointed by the courts. To learn more about a potential wrongful death case and discuss your specific statute of limitations, contact NW Injury Law Center for a case evaluation. We will help you file your claim quickly and efficiently.