Negligence

Under Oregon law, where a defendant’s conduct falls below a particular standard of care and thereby exposes the plaintiff and others to an unreasonable risk of harm then such conduct on the part of the defendant provides a basis for a negligence claim.
A plaintiff who asserts a common law claim for negligence in Oregon is not required to show or prove the existence of a duty owed on the part of the defendant unless there is some form of a special relationship between the plaintiff and the defendant, which arises out of contract, statute or rule. Where it is clear that a special relationship between plaintiff and defendant does exist, then the plaintiff is required to prove that the defendant owed a duty of care to the plaintiff.

Modified Comparative Negligence

Per Or. Rev. Stat. § 31.600(1), in Oregon, a plaintiff is able to recover for a personal injury caused by the negligent actions of another as long as the plaintiff was 50% or less at fault for the injury. If this is the case, the plaintiff’s damage award will be reduced in proportion to the percentage of fault assigned to the plaintiff, if any. For example, if a jury returns a damage award in favor of the plaintiff in the amount of $100,000 but attributed 20% of fault to the plaintiff for their injury, the plaintiff would be able to recover $80,000 of the $100,000 award.

If the plaintiff is found to have been 51% or more at fault, the plaintiff will be barred from recovery.

Joint & Several Liability

Or. Rev. Stat. § 31.610 establishes that in any civil action arising out of bodily injury, each defendant shall be severally liable, and not jointly, for damages awarded to the plaintiff.

The jury first must determine the full amount of damages to which the plaintiff is entitled. Thereafter, the jury must decide and assign a percentage of fault to all parties from whom recovery is sought. The court then will calculate the amount each negligent party will be financially responsible for which will be an amount proportionate to their assigned percentage of fault.

The sum of all of the defendant’s shares of the obligation shall be equal to the total amount of the damages found by the jury, with no reduction for amounts paid in settlement of the claim or by way of contribution, multiplied by the percentage of fault determined for the person by the trier of fact under Or. Rev. Stat. § 31.605.

Where one defendant has paid more than their proportional share of liability that defendant has the right to seek contribution against any other joint defendant who has not paid its proportional share.

Damages

Compensatory Damages

Compensatory damages are awarded by a court to compensate the plaintiff for injuries suffered as a result of the negligence of the defendant(s). The award is meant to restore the plaintiff – as much as possible – to the condition they were in prior to the injury occurring.

Compensatory damages include reasonable expenses necessary for medical care; hospitalization and treatment; economic loss from loss of income (both past and future); pain and suffering; disability; disfigurement; and mental anguish.

Under Oregon law, non-economic damages are capped at $500,000 in wrongful death and survival actions.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are meant to punish a defendant rather than to compensate the plaintiff.

Punitive damages are not recoverable in Oregon for a civil action unless it is proven by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant acted with malice or has shown a reckless and outrageous indifference to a highly unreasonable risk of harm and has acted with a conscious indifference to the health, safety and welfare of others.

DISCLAIMER:

The law firm of Walker Morgan is located at 135 E Main St., Lexington, SC 29072. All lawyers at Walker Morgan are licensed to practice law in the State of South Carolina. Should you wish to retain our firm for legal representation regarding a potential case in any other jurisdiction we are required to associate local counsel in that foreign jurisdiction and seek permission from a court of the foreign jurisdiction to temporarily engage in the practice of law therein for purposes of pursuing your potential claim only.

By offering the following information the lawyers at Walker Morgan are not offering legal advice or legal guidance. The lawyers at Walker Morgan are not licensed to practice law in Oregon. Should you have a question/concern specific to Oregon law, please contact an attorney licensed to practice law in the State of Oregon.