Portland Wrongful Death Attorney

Wrongful Death Lawyer Serving Portland and Surrounding Communities

Wrongful Death Lawyer PortlandThere a very few times in a person’s life that are more traumatic and stressful than an accidental death in the family – especially when a family member’s death is premature and attributed to the wrongful and negligent actions of someone else.  We struggle with questions that have no answers, seeking to explain or console our grief. While no one can undo the damage, Portland Wrongful Death Attorney Travis Mayor can help you understand the legal process of seeking justice in an accidental death case and your options for dealing with the negligent wrongful death of a loved one. Travis is experienced, compassionate, and understands what you are going through.

Travis is ready to learn more about your case and offer help. Call (503) 610-0005 or 1 (800) 949-1481 for your free and confidential case evaluation with a Portland Wrongful Death Attorney.

Types of Portland Wrongful Death Cases

Oregon map of Fatal Crashes -- negligence death casesEach year hundreds of Oregonians are involved in preventable fatal accidents caused by the negligence and reckless conduct of others. Typical examples and common causes of wrongful death accidents include:

Motor Vehicle Deaths – In 2011, 32,367 people died in motor vehicle crashes in the United States.  While this is an improvement from proceeding years it still represents the leading cause of death in unintentional accidents.  Motorcycle accidents accounted for 4,612 deaths, and large trucks accounted for 3,757 fatalities. Negligent deaths are generally the result of brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, head and skull fractures, severe broken bones and fractures.

Pedestrian And Cyclist Fatalities— In 2011, pedestrian accidents accounted for 4,432 fatalities. Bicyclist fatalities, as reported by the U.S. Department of Transportation, were at an all-time high of 677 fatalities. Most of these fatalities were the result of negligence resulting in death. Family members can seek justice by pursuing legal action to recover damages from an accidental death lawsuit.

Unsafe and Defective Products –- In 2012, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission reported 847,755 people were hospitalized as a result of their injuries from unsafe and defective products, and more than 5,400 died as a result of using defective products.

Medical Malpractice Deaths– Medical malpractice statistics are difficult to substantiate, but various sources indicate between 100,000 and 200,000 deaths occur each year because of medical errors.

Unsafe Premises– The CDC reports that falls are one of the leading causes of death in our country, especially in adults aged 65 and older.  In 2010, about 21,700 older adults died from unintentional fall injuries. Falls are also the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries, as well as cervical spine injuries, and thoracic spine injuries.

Workplace Deaths — According to Oregon OSHA and the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Oregon 2011 workplace accidents amounted to 49,400 non-fatal occupational injuries and 58 fatal injuries. Accidental deaths are generally the result of exposure to toxic chemical exposure, defective machine operation, electrocution, and falls.

Traumatic Brain Injuries – The CDC estimates about 1.7 million people sustain a traumatic brain injury (“TBI”) annually, generating 52,000 annual accident deaths.  TBI is a contributing factor to approximately 1/3rd of all injury-related U.S. accidental deaths.

Criminal Acts– In Oregon, crimes that constitute wrongful death include aggravated murder, murder, manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, and vehicular homicide. In 2012, Oregon murder and negligent homicide rates increased by approximately 15%.

Wrongful Death Case Examples:

Wrongful Death Case Example 1: A $505,000 wrongful death settlement was reached in a Portland accidental death case, which involved horrible first-degree burn injury from a negligently caused house fire.  The decedent survived for a number of weeks before he ultimately died from his burn injury.  An out of court settlement was obtained for the homeowner’s insurance policy maximum limit for the negligent accident death.

Accident Death Case Example 2: A $400,000 accident death settlement was reached in this Beaverton drunk driving case, with the drunk driver’s insurance company.  We also filed a liquor liability lawsuit against the tavern that served alcohol to the drunk driver while he was visibly intoxicated.  Unfortunately, the tavern had illegally let its liability insurance lapse.  The bar and its owners eventually filed bankruptcy.

Wrongful Death Case Example 3: Portland Wrongful Death Attorney, Travis Mayor, obtained a wrongful death settlement from the homeowner’s insurance company of the defendant.  This tragic wrongful death case occurred in The Dalles, Wasco County, Oregon where a psychologically troubled person shot and killed his neighbors, a mother, and her adult son.  The case settled for the defendant’s insurance policy limit of $100,000 shortly after filing the lawsuit.  The defendant, who was incarcerated and being prosecuted by the State of Oregon, had no other assets.

Accidental Death Case Example 4: Portland Wrongful Death Attorney, Travis Mayor, settled this wrongful death case prior to litigation.  This case arose in Bend, Oregon, where hospital staff at a local hospital negligently turned off the valve on the patient’s tracheotomy causing his accidental death.  The elderly patient had been hospitalized after he was paralyzed in a serious motor vehicle accident prior to the negligent act.  The case settled for $400,000.

Types of compensation allowed in Portland, Oregon wrongful death lawsuits

Portland personal injury attorney Travis Mayor moves quickly to obtain important evidence to maximize the value of his clients’ cases.  The types of financial compensation available to the families of accidental death and wrongful death victims include the following:

  • Reasonable charges incurred for medical costs and services, burial and memorial services;
  • Compensation for disability, pain, suffering, and loss of income during the period between injury and the decedent’s death;
  • Compensation for pecuniary (economic) losses to the decedent estate, such as the loss of the decedent’s lifetime earnings;
  • Compensation to the decedent’s spouse, children, stepchildren, stepparents, and parents for pecuniary (economic) loss to them and for the loss of the society, companionship, and services of the decedent; and
  • Punitive damages in cases of intentional and reckless conduct.  Punitive damages are designed to punish wrongdoers and deter them and others from similar conduct. 

Unfortunately, Oregon law caps the non-economic damages for pain and suffering and loss of society, companionship, and services of the decedent at $500,000.  Due to the legislative cap on non-economic damages, the majority of the value of most Oregon wrongful death claims comes from the economic losses caused as a result of the decedent’s wrongful death.

Portland Wrongful Death Attorney, Travis Mayor, aggressively pursues justice for victims of negligence resulting in death, those wrongfully killed as the result of reckless conduct by individuals and corporate entities.

Wrongful Death Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

We invite you to read answers to some commonly asked questions by clicking on the links below. To speak with a knowledgeable Portland Wrongful Death Attorney about your accidental death case please contact our Portland law firm at (503) 610-0005.

What is an Oregon wrongful death claim?

Oregon wrongful death statutes state “when the death of a person is caused by the wrongful act or omission of another, the personal representative of the decedent for the benefit of the decedent’s surviving … [family], may maintain an action against the wrongdoer, if the decedent might have maintained an action had the decedent lived, against the wrongdoer for an injury done by the same act or omission.”This is a legalistic way of saying if a person dies as a result of a wrongful act or omission of another, such as a drunk driving fatality or an employer not properly guarding an automated machine, then the personal representative of the decedent’s estate may bring a lawsuit against the wrongdoer for the benefit of the surviving family or the decedent’s estate.

A wrongful death case is designed to compensate family members for their losses associated with the death of a loved one.

What are the most common causes of Oregon wrongful death cases?

The causes of Oregon wrongful death accidents can be traced to 5 key types of accidents:

  • Motor vehicle accidents — accidental deaths involving car crashes, pedestrian accidents, bicycle injuries, motorcycle accidents, and large trucks.
  • Medical malpractice — medical and healthcare professionals have a “duty of care” to provide treatments in accordance with medical standards of practice. Medical malpractice occurs when healthcare professionals negligently fail to deliver treatment and the patient subsequently dies. Wrongful death lawsuits can be brought against doctors, hospitals, and others responsible for negligently treating patients.
  • Workplace accidents — when an accidental death occurs in the workplace, employers may be held liable for damages.  There are many instances where you may be able to recover money damages, even if you are excluded from recovering from your employer by Oregon workers’ compensation laws. For example, if you were injured by a defective product such as a machine or manufacturing process:
    • Exposure to a toxic substance
    • Employer’s intentional or egregious conduct
    • Employer’s failure to carry workers’ compensation insurance
    • Actions of a third party (not you or your employer). Accidents where the fault lies not with you or your employer, but with a third party, where they have provided defective equipment, improper installation or maintenance, or an unsafe operating environment, are situations where you need to seek the advice of an experienced Portland industrial accident attorney.
  • Defective Products — If your injury was the result of an unsafe design, improper installation, defective product or unsafe operating procedures, then the manufacturer of the equipment may be held liable for your injuries.
  • Criminal acts — A person who commits a criminal act, such as vehicular manslaughter, is subject to both criminal and civil prosecution. Civil cases are brought on behalf of the deceased’s family or legal representatives.

Who can file an Oregon wrongful death action?

Answer: Oregon law § 30.020 states “when the death of a person [the decedent] is caused by the wrongful act or omission of another, the personal representative of the decedent, for the benefit of the decedent surviving spouse, surviving children, surviving parents, and other individuals … [stepchild or step parent] … may maintain an action against the wrongdoer.” Typically the personal representative is an immediate family member such as the decedent’s surviving spouse or children. Wrongful death lawsuits can be very complex. We recommend that any family suffering from a death due to negligence, contact an experienced Portland wrongful death attorney for help in pursuing the case.

How is the wrongful death settlement distributed?

Answer: Upon a settlement of a claim, or recovery of judgment in an action, the amount of damages will be distributed in the following manner:

  • Reimbursement for costs expenses and fees incurred in the prosecution or enforcement of the claim, action or judgment.
  • Reimbursement for charges incurred for doctor, hospital, nursing, or other medical services, burial services at memorial services rendered for the deceased.
  • Reimbursement of an apportionment amount of the recovery to each beneficiary.
  • The remainder of damages recovered shall be distributed to the beneficiaries in proportions according to the decedent’s will, or if no will as defined under Oregon’s laws of intestate succession, or as agreed by the beneficiaries.

What is the time period allowed for filing an Oregon wrongful death claim?

Answer: Simply stated, most Oregon wrongful death actions must be filed within three years from the date the injury occurred that resulted in the person’s death, as opposed to three years from the date of death.  This is referred to as the statute of limitations.  Exceptions to the three-year guideline on the statute of limitations are numerous and vary according to the cause of death.  For example, the three-year statute may be significantly reduced (to as low as 180 days) if alcohol was involved in the cause of death, or when a public entity is involved, or in product liability claims.  The only way to clearly understand the impact of time limitations is to review your case with an experienced Oregon wrongful death attorney.

Get Results – Call a Portland Wrongful Death Attorney at Mayor Law

Portland Wrongful Death Attorney Travis MayorAt Mayor Law, it is our goal to help the families of Oregon wrongful death victims achieve justice and restore their lives. Portland Wrongful Death Attorney, Travis Mayor, will help you by reducing the hassles and inconvenience of your tragic loss as you mourn while maximizing the financial compensation for the statutory beneficiaries of the decedent’s estate. Travis Mayor has recovered millions of dollars for families of Oregon wrongful death victims.  For every Oregon wrongful death client, Travis offers personal service with proven results.

Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation and case evaluation. At Mayor Law, we understand the legal implications of an Oregon wrongful death lawsuit.  More importantly, we understand your family’s pain. We use our experience, knowledge, and resources to build a strong case and secure the compensation your family needs to cope with the loss of your loved one for years to come.

Please review our clients’ personal accounts of working with attorney Travis Mayor:  Google+, Yelp, and AVVO pages.

Articles of Interest – MAYOR LAW BLOG

Attorney Answers: Top 8 questions regarding a wrongful death lawsuit

Car Accidents and Wrongful Death Claims: A Brief Guide

An In-depth Look At Successful vs. Failed Wrongful Death Lawsuit Case Examples