What is the Oregon Tort Claims Act?

If you have been injured in a personal injury accident that was not your fault, you may be wondering about your legal options. If a private citizen caused your injuries, you could bring a personal injury lawsuit against that person. Likewise, if a private company causes your injuries, you can sue the company in civil court. If a government employee caused your injuries, the process for recovering compensation is different. You will need to file a claim through the Oregon Tort Claims Act.

What Is the Torts Claims Act?

A “tort” is considered a civil wrong, like when a person ignores a stop sign and causes an injury. Torts are not always crimes. Many torts involve negligent or reckless behavior that causes another person’s injury. Oregon has a tort claim statute, or law, that governs how people can bring claims against government entities in employees who caused injuries. 

Suppose a government agency or employee has injured you. In that case, you will need to provide the agency with a written notice that you intend to file a legal claim against them. After you file the notice, you will be able to file your claim in a civil court in Oregon. You will need to file your claim within two years of the accident happening. If you do not file the notice first, you will lose your ability to bring a claim at all.

 

Oregon Tort Claims Notices

In most personal injury cases, the victim has up to two years from the date of an accident to file a lawsuit. However, when the victim needs to bring a claim against a government agency, the statute of limitations is much shorter. If you have been injured in a personal injury accident, it is crucial that you understand who caused your accident. You will need to file your tort claims notice within 180 days of the accident. 

Oregon tort claim notices are basically a public notice for a governmental body stating that you believe you have grounds for a lawsuit against them. The notice is not the lawsuit itself. Instead, it is a legal formality stating that you are taking the first step in bringing a lawsuit against a government agency. Failure to file an Oregon tort claim notice in time will result in you losing the opportunity to bring a lawsuit. If the negligence of any of the following people caused your injuries, you would probably have to file an Oregon tort claim notice:

  • A City of Portland driver
  • An Oregon state employee who was on the job
  • A Tri-Met bus
  • A public school teacher who was on the job
  • Any other city, county, or state entity or worker

 

What is Included in a Tort Claims Notice?

You will need to include several different types of information in your tort claim notice. First, you will need to describe the accident’s time, place, and circumstances that caused your injuries. You will also need to describe your claim and the damages you seek and include contact information for you and the defendant who caused your injuries. Lawsuits against government agencies are complicated, and it is important that you seek counsel from an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney can make sure that you file the notice on time and send it to the right people so you do not lose your ability to bring a lawsuit. 

 

Claims for Wrongful Death

Individuals injured by government agencies or employees have a right to bring a claim against the relevant agency. Additionally, family members of victims who have died due to a personal injury caused by a government agency have a right to bring a wrongful death claim. Claims for personal injury or wrongful death might include an injury or death caused by a slip and fall accident on government property. Many of these types of claims involve a negligent driver of a city bus, school bus, or another government-owned motor vehicle who causes an accident that results in another person’s injuries. 

 

Limits on What Type of Case You Can Bring

The Oregon Tort Claims Act limits what type of claims injured victims can make. It also limits the amount of money they can claim in compensation. For example, a person cannot claim that a government agency did not make the right choice with limited resources to stop a problem from happening. The government has something called discretionary immunity that protects them from lawsuits based on decisions regarding how to allocate resources. However, if a law tells the government to do a certain thing a certain way and fails to do so, it is a violation of the law, and the victim can bring a claim.

There are also limits on how much a plaintiff can claim and recover under the Act. There has been a successful constitutional challenge to the limits of what the plaintiff can recover under the Act. Oregon’s legislature passed new laws which could also be ruled unconstitutional. The Tort Claims Act allows victims to file claims against subdivisions of the state government. For example, plaintiffs’ can bring claims against cities, counties, special districts, ports, or nearly any other type of governmental entity.

 

Contact a Portland Personal Injury Lawyer Today

Coping with a serious personal injury is always challenging, especially if you cannot return to work and have a difficult time paying for your medical bills. Navigating your claim against a government entity is particularly difficult. Suppose you have been injured due to the negligence of a government employee or government entity. In that case, it is crucial that you discuss your case with a lawyer who is familiar with the Oregon Tort Claims Act. Contact DuBois Law Group, LLC, as soon as possible after your injury to discuss your case with a skilled personal injury lawyer.