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At what point does a death become a wrongful death?

The death of a loved one is always painful. It does not matter what the circumstances are. However, the loss may be felt more deeply when the death is caused by something that could have been prevented, such as the negligent or reckless actions of another person.

That premise is at the basis of most wrongful death personal injury claims. The allegation that might be made is that if not for the actions of the negligent person or business, the victim would not have died. But just because such a claim might seem to be apparent does not necessarily mean that the case is a viable one. Such an assessment is something that needs to be sought from someone skilled in the law. Often the question is one of determining whether a death is a wrongful death?

A reference that directly deals with that question can be found under section 30.020 of the 2013 Oregon Revised Statutes. It stipulates that action for wrongful death may be taken if "the wrongful act or omission of another" causes the death. In such circumstances, a person who has been designated the personal representative of the victim has the right to seek compensation on behalf of a victim's survivors and others.

The crucial language in the provision is what we highlighted with quotes. The amount of possible damages can be determined by totaling the costs incurred for the care and burial of the victim, assessing the loss of earnings suffered because of the injury and death and the loss of future earnings that survivors would have realized had the victim survived.

Most people are not prepared to effectively pursue such matters. They may be emotionally compromised due to their loss. The language used to craft the law can be confusing. But the survivors of wrongful death victims should not have to suffer financial hardship as a result. For their sakes, it makes sense to speak with an attorney.

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