What is the Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury in Oregon?

Each state, Oregon included, requires lawsuits to be filed within a certain timeframe. The law is clear here: if you don’t initiate your personal injury case or file a lawsuit to protect your claim within that timeframe, you forfeit any claim you may have.

For many, their lawyer will reach a settlement outside of court and the timeframe outlined by Oregon law will not be applicable. However, if a settlement cannot be agreed upon by both parties, it’s important to understand how much time you have to file suit following an injury, wrongful death, or damage of your property. This understanding could be the difference between justice and financial compensation being awarded to you or being left to deal with medical bills and pain and suffering on your own. If you’re wondering “how long do I have to sue for personal injury?,” keep reading for the basic rules regarding Oregon’s personal injury statute of limitations. One benefit of working with an experienced personal injury lawyer is that they will monitor these dates and timeframes for you; this so protects your claim so you don’t have to worry about it.

What is statute of limitations?

This timeframe provided by Oregon state law is known as a statute of limitations, and it exists for both civil and criminal offenses. It exists to ensure prompt and timely claims are made. This is can be the benefit of both the victim and the at-fault party as the more recent an incident occurs, the more easily it can be investigated, documented, witness testimony obtained and critical evidence is not lost. The statute of limitations is only in place to regulate the initiation of legal proceedings — it does not outline when a claim must be resolved. The time the statute allows for a victim to sue the accused wrongdoer changes based on the supposed offense and in which state the suit is being filed. Here, we’ll be exclusively discussing Oregon civil law.

Because of the varying timeframes and legal expectations involving the statute of limitations for your case, this area of the law is best explained by an experienced attorney. Be sure to contact an Oregon personal injury lawyer to understand the specific requirements for your potential case.

What is the time limit for personal injury claims in Oregon?

How long do i have to sue for personal injury?

Oregon personal injury law dictates that most civil claims have to be settled or a lawsuit filed within two years of the incident.

This includes suits pertaining to personal injury, negligence, abuse, or fraud. However, Oregon’s two-year statute of limitations is only a general rule. There are some additions and exceptions. For example, a claim under the landlord-tenant act (for example, for injuries occurring on the landlord’s premises), only has a one-year statute of limitations. Claims against any type of governmental body have a “tort claim notice” requirement that may require notice to any type of governmental entity to receive a specific type of notice within 180 days of the incident.  

Wrongful death claims generally have a three-year statute of limitations but may have notice requirements as soon as a year after the incident. Additionally, for suits pertaining to damage to personal property, breach of contract, and debt collection, there is a six-year statute of limitations. 

Because of the complex nature of these time limits and notice requirements, it is imperative that you seek and retain an experienced and knowledgeable personal injury attorney sooner than later.

Additional Exceptions to Personal Injury Statute of Limitations in Oregon Law

Statute of Limitations for Government Agencies or Employees in Oregon

As noted above, If you are seeking to file a claim against a government agency or worker (for example, a police officer or other local or state government employee for her/his negligence), be aware of a unique statute of limitations that exists. You must give notice of your intent to file a claim within 180 days (around six months) following the accident. For wrongful death cases, you must give notice within one year.

Oregon Statute of Limitations for Minors

When claims involve minors, the personal injury statute of limitations does not expire for five years or until one year after the minor becomes a legal adult at 18, whichever is earlier. However, for government agencies or employees, notice requirements and the general rule of two years applies. Which rule applies depends on the type of case the minor (or now adult) is seeking to open.

Oregon Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death

Oregon law provides that an individual must file a wrongful death suit within three years of the act of negligence that caused the death. Again, notice requirements set forth above may affect this date.

What’s the Discovery Rule?

The “discovery rule” is a rare but admissible provision in some civil claims, most often in claims involving medical malpractice. In the event that an individual discovers the real cause of their injury or problem, e.g., that the doctor was negligent and caused the person harm, the law states specifically here that the statute of limitations can be adjusted to “two years from the date when the injury is first discovered or in the exercise of reasonable care should have been discovered.” The Discovery Rule and its definition of “reasonable care” can be difficult to prove. In medical malpractice cases specifically, no claim can be brought more than five years after the doctor was negligent, no matter when the claim/cause was discovered.

Oregon Statute of Limitations for Property Damage

Oregon’s statute of limitations for Injury to personal property is six years. For example, if your car, home, or other possessions were injured or damaged by another individual or individuals, you may have up to six years to file a claim against them. This type of civil claim often applies in Oregon car accident cases, where the car itself, along with the belongings inside, could be damaged or destroyed. This includes claims for “diminished value,” i.e. the car is now worth less than before due to the accident and even though it has been repaired.

Understand the Personal Injury Statute of Limitations for Your Case: Consult with an Oregon Personal Injury Lawyer

As you can see, determining the statute of limitations for personal injury cases in Oregon can be difficult. The two-year general rule has some exceptions depending on your case. The best course of action to take after you suffer an accident is to seek legal advice right away.

For a free legal consultation about your case, contact the legal team at Swanson Lathen Prestwich, PC. We can help you protect your claim and your rights long before the statute of limitations expire. Schedule a free consultation to determine the time limits on your personal injury case.