Oregon Wrongful Death Lawyer
Helping Oregon Families Move Forward After Tragedy
When a loved one dies due to the negligent, reckless, or wrongful actions of another person or entity, the surviving family members are left with an unfathomable void in their lives. While no amount of money can bring back a loved one, Oregon law does provide a mechanism to at least partially compensate families for the untimely death of a spouse, child, parent, or other loved one.
At Pacific Cascade Legal, we understand the immense grief and suffering that comes with wrongful death cases. Our team of experienced attorneys is here to provide compassionate and skilled legal representation for families in Bend, Oregon, who have lost a loved one due to another party's negligence. We are dedicated to helping our clients seek justice and compensation in their time of need.
What is Wrongful Death?
Wrongful death law in Oregon, like in many other states, is a legal framework that allows surviving family members or the personal representative of a deceased person's estate to seek compensation when the death of their loved one was caused by the negligent or intentional actions of another party. It provides a means for the family to hold responsible parties accountable for the loss of their loved one and to recover damages for the various losses they may have suffered due to the death.
Here are the key elements you must prove in a wrongful death lawsuit in Oregon:
- Duty of Care: You must establish that the defendant owed a duty of care to the deceased person. In other words, you need to show that the responsible party had a legal obligation to act reasonably and prudently to prevent harm to the deceased.
- Breach of Duty: You must prove that the responsible party breached their duty of care. This means you need to demonstrate that the defendant's actions or negligence fell short of the standard of care expected under the circumstances.
- Causation: You need to establish a direct causal link between the defendant's breach of duty and the wrongful death. In other words, you must demonstrate that the defendant's actions or negligence were a substantial factor in causing the death.
- Death of the Victim: You must prove that the death occurred. This can typically be demonstrated through medical records, autopsy reports, or other evidence confirming the cause and time of death.
- Existence of Surviving Family Members or Beneficiaries: You need to show that there are surviving family members or beneficiaries who are legally eligible to file a wrongful death claim in Oregon. Eligible parties often include the surviving spouse, domestic partner, children, and parents of the deceased. If there are no eligible surviving family members, the personal representative of the deceased's estate can file the claim on behalf of the estate and its beneficiaries.
- Damages: You must prove the extent and nature of the damages suffered by the surviving family members or beneficiaries as a result of the wrongful death. This includes financial losses such as medical expenses and funeral costs, as well as non-economic damages like emotional distress, loss of companionship, care, and guidance.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Oregon?
The personal representative represents the estate's interests and can file a claim on behalf of the estate and its beneficiaries. If a personal representative is not named in the deceased person's will, then the court will appoint one.
The potential beneficiaries in a wrongful death claim in Oregon may include:
- Surviving Spouse or Domestic Partner: The surviving spouse or domestic partner of the deceased is typically considered the primary beneficiary in a wrongful death claim. They have the first right to seek compensation.
- Surviving Children: Surviving children of the deceased, whether biological, adopted, or stepchildren, are typically considered beneficiaries in a wrongful death claim. This includes both minor and adult children.
- Surviving Parents: If there is no surviving spouse, domestic partner, or children, the parents of the deceased person may be eligible beneficiaries.
- Estate Beneficiaries: When there are no eligible surviving family members, or if the personal representative of the estate initiates the claim, the compensation may be distributed to the beneficiaries of the deceased person's estate. This includes individuals or entities named in the deceased person's will or those determined by Oregon's intestate succession laws if there is no will.
Our Approach to Wrongful Death Cases
At Pacific Cascade Legal, we approach every wrongful death case with the utmost care and attention. We understand that each case is unique, and we tailor our strategies to meet the individual needs of our clients.
Our experienced Bend wrongful death lawyers will provide unwavering support throughout the legal process, including the following key steps:
- Thorough Investigation: We conduct a comprehensive investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of your loved one, gathering evidence and speaking to experts to determine liability.
- Identifying Responsible Parties: We identify the parties responsible for the wrongful death, which may include individuals, corporations, or governmental entities.
- Calculating Damages: Our legal team will work diligently to calculate the full extent of damages, including medical expenses, funeral costs, loss of income, and emotional suffering.
- Negotiations: We engage in negotiations with the opposing parties, their insurers, or legal representatives, seeking a fair settlement that adequately compensates for your loss.
- Litigation: If a fair settlement cannot be reached through negotiations, we are prepared to take your case to court, advocating vigorously for your rights and seeking justice on your behalf.
Losing a loved one is a devastating experience, and pursuing a wrongful death claim can be emotionally taxing. At Pacific Cascade Legal, we are here to provide the compassionate support and skilled legal representation you need during this difficult time.