If an incident outside of your control leaves you injured, you’ll likely experience a range of emotions. Once you’ve received medical attention and taken care of your immediate needs, you may start to consider taking legal action. Seeking justice and financial compensation can be a long, frustrating road. However, in many cases, it’s the best option for anyone who’s been injured.
If you’re a resident of Oregon and have found yourself in this situation, the right place to start is understanding liability laws and how to file your case officially.
First, you want to identify the type of civil wrongdoing, also known as a tort, that you’re dealing with. People often confuse strict liability cases with negligence; however, there is a distinct legal difference. You’ll also want to get familiar with any state-specific laws regarding personal injury.
- Negligence– Negligence is when an individual acts in an unreasonable manner or fails to act in the same way a reasonable person would act under the same circumstances, resulting in an injury. For example, an act of negligence would be a janitor mopping and not putting up a wet floor sign. If a person were to slip and hurt themselves, they could file a negligence tort against the janitor because the janitor acted carelessly.
- Strict Liability– In strict liability cases, the accused can be found liable for an injury regardless of their intention (or lack of intention) to cause harm. You may also hear strict liability cases referred to as liability without fault. For example, if you’re injured by someone transporting hazardous materials, they could be held responsible under strict liability.
Examples of Strict Liability
In general, strict liability claims fall under three categories:
- Product Liability– When a dangerous product causes injury, damage, or death, you can file a strict liability claim. In the state of Oregon, you can file such a claim against a manufacturer, seller, or distributor. The plaintiff will have to prove that a product defect caused harm. Common categories of product defects include:
- Design defects: Inherent flaws or mistakes that were built into the product during the design phase.
- Manufacturing defects: Any defect built into the product during assembly.
- Marketing defects: If the manufacturer fails to inform the user about the proper use of the product, they can be found liable for the “failure to warn” consumers.
- Owned Animals– If someone owns a domestic animal, farm animal, or dangerous exotic animal, they are liable for injuries or damage caused by that animal. In many situations, a first offense by a domestic pet would not subject the owner to strict liability—only negligence or a lesser charge. In Oregon, any attack by an exotic animal is considered a strict liability case.
- Dangerous Conditions or Hazardous Activity– Strict liability applies when an injury occurs due to someone else’s unreasonably dangerous actions or if they created abnormally hazardous conditions. An individual can be found liable even without ill intent.
Filing Your Claim
If appropriate, you’ll have to file a strict liability tort, which is a civil law proceeding. You or your lawyer will file a personal injury claim which is then served to the defendant. The defendant can then find a lawyer, and both sides build their cases before going to court. However, many personal injury incidents never become civil lawsuits or make it to trial; rather, the involved parties reach a settlement independent of the court.
If you’re considering filing a strict liability case tort, the first thing you want to do is hire a lawyer. There are plenty of personal injury attorneys in Oregon who can guide you through the process of filing a claim and then present your case in court. Do your research and take your time finding a credible, knowledgeable, and experienced attorney.
With the help of an attorney, you can determine the best course of action. You’ll have to take into consideration the defendant’s insurance policies, the strength of your argument, what amount you’re willing to settle for, and how long you can afford to fight. In some situations, you may be better off not filing a claim to begin with, so be sure to discuss all of your options with your lawyer and weigh them carefully.
Receiving What’s Due
Filing a personal injury lawsuit may be the only way to secure financial compensation for a dangerous incident and injury. Whether or not the defendant meant any harm, they still may be liable, and taking them to court will ensure that justice is served. During this difficult fight, you’ll want the best attorney by your side to increase your chances of receiving the settlement you feel is due.