If you were injured and need compensation, then you have probably thought about filing a personal injury lawsuit. However, you should carefully weigh your options before proceeding. To help you figure out whether a personal injury lawsuit is the right option for you, here is an explanation of how they work in Oregon:
What is Oregon's statute of limitations?
Before anything else, you need to know when you can file. If you are past the statute of limitations, then your case will probably just get thrown out. In Oregon, the limit for a personal injury lawsuit is 2 years, which applies to cases where you are suing individuals or companies.
There are a couple of exceptions to these time limits: damages that were not discovered until later and lawsuits on behalf of minors.
How do the exceptions work?
Some injuries might not present themselves for years or even decades, generally in cases where you develop diseases or health conditions as a result of exposure to dangerous substances. Known carcinogenics are particularly common, since cancer can take a very long time to present symptoms. Regardless, your statute of limitations may be extended substantially in such a situation, with the window of opportunity being calculated from the date of discovery rather than the date of exposure.
When a minor wishes to file a lawsuit, they must wait until they are legally an adult, at which point the clock will start counting against their 2 years.
Are your damages capped?
An extremely common concern when considering a personal injury lawsuit is the size of your damages. After all, you might be able to secure as much compensation as possible, and a lawsuit might not necessarily be your safest option.
In Oregon, there is essentially no cap on the damages in the majority of personal injury lawsuits, as the result of an Oregon Supreme Court ruling. This ruling indicated that a cap on non-economic damages in personal injury lawsuits is generally unconstitutional.
For the record, the cap before the ruling was $500,000, which applied to pain and suffering, loss of companionship, and the like (collectively known as non-economic damages).
In other words, you should probably talk to a lawyer before going forward, since they can help you figure out whether your case will be subject to the cap.
That being said, punitive damages are still going to be restricted by default, since they can only come into play once you have successfully shown that the defendant committed gross negligence that led to your injury.
For more information, contact Garrett Law Firm, PA or a similar organization.