Wrongful Death Cases Oregon

When a loved one dies unexpectedly, it can be challenging to fully engage with the mourning process while also determining if you have a wrongful death case. But in addition to the emotional trauma that accompanies these types of losses, families can also experience a huge financial burden, especially if the victim was the primary breadwinner of the family. Because Portland wrongful death attorney Paul Galm has extensive experience with these types of lawsuits, he can help answer the tough questions and provide the support you need to get the compensation you deserve.

What is a “Wrongful Death”?

While the wrongful death definition varies by state, it is broadly defined as “the death of a human being as the result of a wrongful act of another person.” Examples of wrongful death cases are varied and can include everything from a car accident caused by an intoxicated or distracted driver, medical malpractice suits, workplace deaths caused by faulty equipment, nursing home negligence deaths, and more.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Suit in Oregon?

In Oregon, a wrongful death lawsuit can be filed by the deceased’s surviving spouse, children, parents, stepchildren, stepparents, and any other individuals who are legally entitled to inherit the personal property of the deceased. That said, the personal representative of the estate is often responsible for bringing about the wrongful death claim, which they can do by opening a probate. In addition to taking a wrongful death case to court, Paul Galm Law can also help open a probate, so you won’t have to involve an additional lawyer.

What Damages Can Be Recovered from a Wrongful Death Claim Oregon?

Oregon law states that survivors of the deceased’s estate can receive damages, or compensation, for the cost of pre-death medical treatment, the cost of any funeral and burial expenses, lost wages and benefits, pain and suffering endured by the deceased prior to death, and even the loss of care, companionship, and emotional support suffered by the surviving family members.

How do You Prove Wrongful Death?

While the damages available in a wrongful death case can be different than those available in a standard negligence case, a wrongful death attorney will need to prove the same elements in both types of lawsuits: duty, breach of duty, causation, and damages. To prove duty, an attorney must prove that the defendant owed the deceased a duty of “due care.” In other words, they were responsible for keeping others safe and refraining from doing something that would cause harm. If a duty is determined to exist, the wrongful death attorney must present evidence that the defendant breached that duty. From there, the wrongful death attorney must prove causation. Causation means that the defendant’s breach of duty directly caused the deceased’s harm. Finally, the attorney must prove that the deceased actually suffered damages, which is much clearer in wrongful death cases than it is in other negligence cases.

What is the Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death Cases in Oregon?

In most Oregon wrongful death cases, you have three years from the date of the death to file a claim. However, there are many exceptions to consider, including cases where you’re suing a city or state agency. Because you can lose valuable evidence the longer you wait, it’s important to contact a Portland wrongful death attorney as quickly as possible so that they can help safeguard your interests and determine the best course of action for your specific case.


Attorney Paul Galm has extensive experience in wrongful death litigation in Portland and Beaverton, and he can help you determine exactly how much you deserve and fight for you to receive full compensation for the death of your loved one. If you think you might have a wrongful death case, give us a call at (503) 641-6000 for your free legal consultation.