Proving Wrongful Death in Portland

Losing your loved one in an accident or due to the intentional actions of another in Portland, specific criteria must be met in order to successfully hold the liable parties accountable.

Proving wrongful death is a complex process, and you must illustrate that the defendant owed a duty of care, breached that duty through their actions, and that these actions directly caused the death of your loved one.

Definition of Wrongful Death

Wrongful death is a legal term that refers to an untimely death caused by the negligent, careless, or intentional act of another person or entity. It occurs when an individual’s life is prematurely and unlawfully taken due to the actions or inactions of someone else.

Definition of Wrongful Death

How to Prove Wrongful Death in Portland, Oregon

To prove wrongful death in Portland, Oregon, the following elements generally need to be established:

  • Duty of Care: You must show that the responsible party owed the deceased individual a legal duty of care. For example, in a car accident, all drivers must operate their vehicles safely and under traffic laws.
  • Breach of Duty: You must demonstrate that the at-fault party breached their duty of care. It could involve showing that they acted negligently, recklessly, or intentionally in a way that caused the death.
  • Causation: It must be proven that the breach of duty was the direct cause of the deceased person’s death. It requires establishing a causal link between the responsible party’s actions (or lack of action) and the fatal incident.
  • Death: It must be demonstrated that the individual’s death was a direct consequence of the defendant’s actions, whether through negligence or intentional harm.
  • Damages: You need to show that the death has resulted in damages for the surviving family members, such as financial losses, emotional anguish, or other economic and non-economic hardships.

Gathering evidence is essential to support your case. It may include accident reports, witness testimonies, medical records, expert opinions, and other relevant documentation. Consulting with an experienced wrongful death lawyer in the jurisdiction of Portland, Oregon, is highly recommended to navigate the legal process and ensure the proper steps are taken to prove your legal claim.

How to Prove Wrongful Death in Portland, Oregon

Types of Accidents that Can Result in Wrongful Death Lawsuits

There are various types of accidents that can result in wrongful death, including:

  • Firearm Shootings: These incidents occur when individuals are shot and killed by the intentional or negligent discharge of firearms. Whether it is due to criminal acts, accidental discharges, or negligence in handling firearms, the loss of life caused can lead to wrongful death lawsuits.

Portland reported 11 fatalities in firearm shootings during the period between 2014 and 2022. [1]

  • Homicides: Homicides involve the intentional killing of another person and can also lead to wrongful death cases. These can include acts of murder, manslaughter, or even cases of justifiable homicide where the circumstances or self-defense claims are disputed.

In 2022, one-hundred & one homicides were reported in Portland, showing a downward trend compared to 2023’s seventy-seven fatalities. [2]

In Portland, 63 motor vehicle accident fatalities were reported in 2022. [3]

  • Medical Malpractice: If medical professionals fail to provide an appropriate standard of care, resulting in the death of a patient, it can be considered wrongful death. Examples include surgical errors, misdiagnoses, medication errors, or anesthesia mistakes.
  • Defective Products: If a defective product causes fatal injuries, the manufacturer, distributor, or retailer may be held responsible for wrongful death. It can include faulty machinery, defective vehicles, dangerous pharmaceuticals, or other faulty consumer products.
  • Accidents in Public Places: Slip-and-fall accidents, incidents at amusement parks, inadequate security leading to assault or violence, or other accidents in public spaces can result in fatal injuries.

Time Limits for Filing a Wrongful Death Claim in Oregon

The wrongful death statute in Oregon is three years from the date of death, which means that you have three years from the date your loved one passed away to initiate legal action. If this Statute of Limitation is missed, the court may dismiss the claim, and you may lose the opportunity to seek compensation for your loss. [4]

Time Limits for Filing a Wrongful Death Claim in Portland

Who Can File Wrongful Death Claims in Portland, Oregon?

In Portland, Oregon, wrongful death lawsuits can be filed by specific individuals who have a close relationship with the deceased person. The following parties may have the legal standing to bring forth such claims: the surviving spouse, children, parents, and the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate.

In the absence of the above family members, the deceased person’s stepchild or stepparent is eligible to file wrongful death claims in Portland, Oregon. [4]

Economic and Non-economic Compensation Available for Wrongful Death Claims in Portland, Oregon

In Portland, Oregon, wrongful death claims provide a means for your family members to seek financial compensation for the loss of your loved one. These claims allow compensation for economic and non-economic damages to be awarded.

Economic compensation refers to the economic losses incurred as a result of the wrongful death. It can include medical expenses, funeral and burial expenses, lost wages, potential future earnings that the deceased would have contributed to the family, and punitive damages in some cases. The economic compensation awarded is determined by calculating the expenses and projected financial contributions the deceased would have made.

On the other hand, non-economic compensation seeks to compensate for the intangible losses experienced by the surviving family members. It can include emotional pain and suffering, loss of companionship, loss of consortium, and mental anguish. The amount of non-economic compensation awarded is often subjective and can vary depending on the circumstances of the case and the impact on the surviving family members.

Economic and Non-economic Compensation Available for Wrongful Death Claims in Portland, Oregon

If you are experiencing a difficult time where you lost your loved, contact Goldberg & Loren’s wrongful death attorneys to discuss your case within a confidential, free consultation.


[1] Fatal Shootings and Mass Shootings in Oregon – Ceasefire Oregon Education Foundation. (n.d.).

[2] Portland homicides dropped in 2023 after record-breaking years, but death toll still ‘hair-raising.’ (2024, March 26). Oregonlive.

[3] Vision Zero: Portland 2022 Deadly Traffic Crash Report. (2023, March 8).

[4] ORS 30.020 – Action for wrongful death. (n.d.).

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