When you have suffered injuries in an accident or as the result of another person’s reckless or negligent conduct, getting the compensation you deserve is an important part of your recovery. Dealing with the medical expenses associated with your injuries is stressful enough, while at the same time you may be dealing with lost wages and the inability to perform certain tasks and errands which are an important and necessary part of everyday life. Filing a personal injury lawsuit is one of the most important steps you can take in ensuring you get the compensation you need, but questions regarding how to file a personal injury claim leave many people confused and wondering where to begin.
One of the first steps in filing a personal injury claim is to identify the types of damages you have suffered and the person, place, or thing that was responsible. Sections 31.710-730 of the Oregon Revised Statutes lists the types of damages you may be entitled to in a personal injury claim:
- Economic damages, including medical, hospital, and rehabilitative expenses, lost income and potential future lost earnings as the result of any lingering disabilities.
- Non-economic damages, such as compensation for the pain, suffering and emotional distress you suffered, as well as compensation for the loss of enjoyment of life and loss of companionship suffered by your spouse or family members resulting from being unable to engage in the activities you formally participated in.
- Punitive damages, which are a dollar amount awarded by the court to punish the particularly reckless or negligent conduct of the party responsible for your injuries.
Identify Responsible Parties
Along with identifying the damages you suffered, identifying who is responsible for those damages is also an important first step in filing your claim. Named as the defendant in a personal injury lawsuit, the at fault party may be any of the following:
- A reckless driver who caused an accident;
- A property owner, supervisor, or employee who failed to maintain a safe environment;
- A product manufacturer, distributor, or seller who failed to warn customers of a defective or dangerous product; or
- A medical professional whose mistake or error resulted in injury.
Your personal injury claim may name one particular defendant, or it may name several who share varying degrees of blame for your injuries.
Know When To File Your Claim
In the aftermath of an accidental injury, it can take time to uncover the extent of damage caused by your injuries, as well as to determine when you are likely to make the maximum amount of recovery. To provide injured victims the time they need to assemble a personal injury claim, Chapter 12 of the Oregon Rules of Civil Procedure allows victims in personal injury cases two years in which to file a claim. Referred to as statutes of limitations, this time limit runs from the date of your accident or the date you became aware of your injuries if they were not immediately apparent. Two years may seem to be a lot of time, but this allows time for the following:
- Investigation into your accident and identification of the at fault parties;
- The collection of evidence;
- Accurate estimates of the amount of current and future medical expenses you are likely to incur; and
- Medical assessments on the potential for lingering disabilities as the result of your injuries and the impacts these injuries could have on your ability to earn a living.
Contact a Portland Personal Injury Attorney for Help
If you or someone you know hopes to file a Portland injury claim, contact our experienced Portland personal injury attorney right away. At the Johnston Law Firm, we can begin working immediately to identify both your damages as well as those who are responsible for them. We provide aggressive legal representation, building a solid case so that you can get compensation you are entitled to. Contact our Portland personal injury attorney today for a free review of your case.