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We Handle Wrongful
Death Claims in Portland and Throughout Oregon


No one plans for the death of a loved one in a tragic accident. And while losing a family member is hard in any case, even when the death is expected as a result of old age or disease, a sudden, unexpected death can be extremely painful for surviving loved ones. While there is nothing that can be done to restore a life after it’s been lost, filing a wrongful death action may give family members a sense of closure and justice, and also provide them with the monetary compensation they deserve.

Please contact our Oregon wrongful death lawyers at the office of the Johnston Law Firm if you need support bringing forth a wrongful death action. We are here to help.

How to Prove Liability in a Wrongful Death Claim in Oregon

Proving liability in a wrongful death claim in Oregon can be a complex and challenging process, as these are fault-based claims. To establish liability, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant was negligent or otherwise at fault for the death of their loved one. The specific things that a claimant will need to prove can vary depending on the underlying circumstances of the fatal accident. 

An  investigation is essential in establishing liability in a wrongful death claim. Evidence—from police reports to witness statements to medical records to expert testimony—can all be necessary to build a strong case. You do not want to fall behind a defendant or insurer in the wrongful death claims process.

A Portland wrongful death lawyer can help navigate the complex legal process of proving liability in a wrongful death claim. They have the experience and resources necessary to conduct a thorough investigation and build a strong case on behalf of the plaintiff. By working with a knowledgeable attorney, the surviving family members can focus on their health and well-being.

Removing Stress From Your Life

When a loved one dies, the focus should be on grieving, not on financial concerns. The Portland wrongful death attorney at the Johnston Law Firm assists family members of the deceased in their time of need. We are experienced and successful. We are compassionate toward your loss, and aggressive in your representation. We handle a wide range of wrongful death cases related to cartruckbikemotorcycle, and pedestrian accidents, as well as medical negligence and misdiagnosis, pharmaceutical errors and product liability cases.


Johnston Law Firm understands the stress and worry you are feeling. Coupled with the grief of having a loved one killed in a car accident, you are concerned about your financial future. You don’t want to think about finances while you are grieving, but the reality is that you have to, especially if you’ve lost a significant wage earner in your family. We will take as much of the concern and worry off your shoulders as possible while you are grieving. We will fight and negotiate on your behalf, so you don’t have to worry about that aspect of your case.

Oregon Law: Survival Action Claims

Beyond a wrongful death claim, grieving family members may also have a survival action claim under Oregon law (ORS 30.075). A survival action claim is a legal claim that allows the estate of a deceased person to seek compensation for damages that the deceased person could have recovered had they survived the incident that caused their death. To clarify, a survival action claim is different from a wrongful death claim, which seeks damages for the losses suffered by the deceased person’s surviving family members.

A survival action claim can be brought by the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate and seeks damages for any losses or injuries suffered by the deceased person between the time of their injury and the time of their death. Examples of damages that can be recovered in a survival action claim include medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering. Most often, these claims are filed when the victim survived the accident itself, but eventually passed away due to their injuries—potentially hours, days, weeks, or even months later.

Portland Wrongful Death Lawyer Marc A. Johnston is a Compassionate Advocate for Families

Our founding attorney Marc A. Johnston is a compassionate, justice-focused, and future-oriented advocate for grieving families. Attorney Johnston has devoted his legal career to holding negligent defendants, large corporations, and big insurance companies accountable. We are on the side of the people and families who need guidance and support the most. Marc A. Johnston is ready to go the distance to help you get the maximum financial compensation.

What Is a Wrongful Death Case?

A wrongful death action is a type of civil suit that is filed when the wrongful actions of one party lead to the death of another. These types of claims are similar to personal injury claims, but for the fact that injuries result in death. A wrongful death claim can be used to recover a variety of damages types, discussed fully below.

Types of Wrongful Death Claims

A wrongful death claim can be filed anytime that the wrongful act or omission of one party lead to the death of another. Types of accident that can lead to wrongful death cases includes:

  • Car accident;
  • Other auto accidents;
  • Truck accidents;
  • Pedestrian accidents;
  • Motorcycle accidents;
  • Slip and fall accidents;
  • Bicycle accidents;
  • Dangerous product accidents; and
  • More.

If your loved one has been killed in an accident and you’re not sure if you have a wrongful death claim, please call our law firm. We will review your case for free and provide you with an honest, straightforward answer about your options.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

If you have lost a close friend or a loved one, you may be thinking about the possibility of bringing forth a wrongful death action on their behalf. However, you can only bring forth a wrongful death action if you are related to the decedent in some way. To be sure. Oregon statute holds that only the personal representative of the decedent can bring forth an action for wrongful death, and that that action can only be brought forth for the benefit of the “surviving spouse, surviving children, surviving parents,” and other individuals who would be entitled to inherit personal property of the decedent through the laws of intestate succession.

The Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations

When a person wants to bring forth a wrongful death action after losing a loved one, they only have so much time to do so – this time limit is set by the statute of limitations. According to the statute of limitations for wrongful death lawsuits in Oregon, which is found in ORS 30.020(1)(a), an action for wrongful death must be brought within three years of the death of the decedent. Because of the inflexible statute, it’s best to talk to an attorney as soon as possible after a loved one’s death to ensure that there is no risk of breaching the statute.

Wrongful Death Claims in Portland, OR:
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are the Most Common Causes of Avoidable Deaths in Oregon?

Sadly, a wrongful death can occur in a number of different situations. The most common causes of avoidable deaths in Oregon include:

Can Any Person File a Wrongful Death Claim?

No. Not just any person can file a wrongful death claim under Oregon law. Oregon has specific statutes that govern who has the legal standing to bring a wrongful death claim. In Oregon, the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate is the only party with the authority to bring a wrongful death claim on behalf of the deceased person’s estate and surviving family members.

What Happens If Our Family Waits Too Long to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

You could miss out on your right to take legal action. Be proactive. Consult with a Portland, OR wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible after a fatal accident. While there is a three-year statute of limitations for wrongful death claims, that clock generally starts ticking on the date of the underlying accident/incident, not the date of the victim’s death. 

Will a Wrongful Death Case Go to Trial?

It is possible. That being said, a far greater share of wrongful death claims and survival action claims are resolved through a settlement rather than a trial verdict. Of course, as there is always a chance that your case could end up in court, it is crucial that you are represented by a trial-tested Portland, OR wrongful death attorney. 

Can I File Both a Survival Action Claim and a Wrongful Death Claim?

Yes. Wrongful death claims and survival action claims are not “either/or” causes of action in Oregon. In some cases, your family may have the right to pursue both types of claims. An experienced Portland wrongful death lawyer can review your case and help to ensure that your case is being handled the right way.

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Wrongful Death &
Fatalities in Oregon

It is an odd and painful concept to place a dollar value on a human life, but that’s essentially what is required in Oregon wrongful death cases. Our firm will complete a detailed investigation of your case, in an effort to determine the value of the claim. We will investigate the scene of the death when possible, and consider all factors related to fault. We typically hire top experts to assist with your case, including accident re-constructionists and economists, who will be available to testify if your case proceeds to trial. When your case is fully prepared, we will make a demand on the wrongdoer’s insurance company on behalf of you or your family. If the insurance company will not fairly compensate you for your loss, we will take your case to trial. We routinely seek compensation on behalf of family members of the deceased for:

  • Loss of expected future earnings of the deceased
  • Pain and suffering for the survivors
  • Benefits lost due to the victims death
  • Loss of companionship
  • Loss of parenting benefits from parent to child
  • Reimbursement for medical, burial and funeral expenses
  • Any other costs applicable to your case.

Our goal is to settle your case quickly, efficiently, and for the full and fair compensation you are owed.

The reality is that most insurance companies will challenge or deny your claim in an attempt to protect their own assets. We have experience negotiating with insurance companies, and we will diligently investigate and prepare your case to ensure you receive a fair settlement. Contact our office to take advantage of a free case evaluation by an experienced lawyer.

How Can An Oregon Wrongful Death Lawyer Help?

Losing a loved one is an incredibly painful experience and, right after your loved one’s death, you may not feel especially ready to start building a legal case or talking to anyone about the death, lawyer or otherwise. While it can be very difficult to take action, working with a wrongful death attorney is one of the smartest things you can do. Here’s an overview of how our Portland wrongful death attorneys at the Johnston Law Firm can help:

  • Reviewing your case free of charge: The first thing that our law firm will do for you is to provide you with a free case consultation. During this time, we ask that you bring as much evidence and information about your case as possible. We will review everything that you have, and then advise you of your options and give you our professional opinion about how you can proceed. Because this is offered at zero cost and with zero obligation to hire our firm, it’s a service worth taking us up on – you have nothing to lose.
  • Investigating your case: If you decide to work with us, our lawyers will start by opening a thorough investigation into your case. We will work with accident reconstruction experts, talk to witnesses, travel to the accident scene, get copies of the police report and medical records, and more in order to determine what went wrong, who’s to blame, and who should be held liable for your loved one’s death and the related damages experienced by your family.
  • Calculating your damages: As explained above, you may be entitled to a range of both economic and noneconomic damages following the wrongful death of a family member. Our lawyers will work with other professionals and experts to calculate the value of your claim. From there, we’ll file a demand letter requesting compensation on your behalf.
  • Handling your claim documents: It’s the responsibility of our lawyers to handle all of the documents related to your claim, including medical bills, claim filings, letters from an insurance company, and more. We will be responsible for collecting, organizing, and safeguarding these documents, and others, and then using them appropriately to support your case throughout the claims process.
  • Negotiating your settlement: After liability has been established, damages have been calculated and proven, and a demand letter has been issued, the next step is waiting for the responsible insurance company to offer a claimant a settlement. In most cases, the first settlement offer is less than the claimant deserves, and a back-and-forth process will ensue. We’ll represent you during the negotiations process and aggressively advocate to get you the amount you deserve.
  • Litigating your case: While most wrongful death and personal injury claims are settled out of court, sometimes, these cases go to litigation. If filing a wrongful death lawsuit is necessary, our team will be ready to go. Our lawyers have trial experience and a track record of success in the court.
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Contact a Portland Wrongful Death Attorney

If you have questions regarding wrongful death, contact the wrongful death attorney at the Johnston Law Firm by calling 503-546-3167 or via the e-mail form on this website. We offer a free initial consultation and flexible hours by appointment.

The Johnston Law Firm, LLC proudly represents clients in all cities and counties in Oregon: Portland, Gresham, Milwaukie, Lake Oswego, Tigard, Beaverton, Hillsboro, Multnomah, Washington, Clackamas.


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If you have been seriously injured at no fault of your own, please contact us using the form.


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