Linn County, OR (August 1, 2022) — Shortly after midnight last Friday, July 29, authorities and emergency crews responded to a reported auto accident involving a pedestrian and a Toyota Van. The accident happened on Interstate 5 close to milepost 229.
According to official reports, Charles Hatfield (45-year-old male) of Salem, was pronounced dead at the scene of the incident. Poblano Lopez, the driver of the van stayed at the scene and cooperated fully with authorities.
The investigation is still currently ongoing, and more details have yet to be announced.
Our condolences are with the family of Charles Hatfield at this time.
Filing a Wrongful Death Claim in Oregon
A wrongful death, in the eyes of the law in Oregon, is when a person dies as the result of another party’s negligent actions, whether accidental or intentional. In this article, we will cover some of the basics of wrongful death claims. Our Oregon wrongful death attorneys at Johnson & Taylor are always available for free consultations if you have any questions about a claim.
In Oregon, there is a ‘wrongful death’ law that permits the family of a victim to file a claim on their behalf. There are circumstances in which step-children, guardians, and other non-immediate family members can file such a claim as well.
Legally, wrongful death is defined in Oregon as a “death caused by the wrongful act or omission of another,” an act that would have been considered liable had the person not died (Or. Rev. Stat. § 30.020 (2021).) In other words, a wrongful death occurs when one person dies as a result of the legal fault of another person.
There are some key differences between wrongful death and a criminal homicide case. In the case of a wrongful death claim, as with other personal injury claims, the defendant’s liability is expressed in terms of financial compensation (referred to as “damages”).
In a successful wrongful death lawsuit, the court will order the defendant to pay these damages out to the beneficiary or beneficiaries. In a homicide case, instead of paying out damages, the defendant, if convicted, could face jail or prison time, state fines, probation, and other punishments.
Wrongful death claims are considered “civil” lawsuits, rather than criminal. In a wrongful death case, the prosecution is not trying to prove an individual’s guilt, as that would have been established before the case began. Rather, in a wrongful death case, the victim or their next of kin are solely attempting to collect damages.
When it comes to civil suits, being declared guilty means that you must be found to be more likely responsible for the death than not. Even though the vast majority of people would never intentionally kill somebody, it is still a very serious charge with very real consequences. As such, there are occasions when a defendant can be charged with criminal negligence as well as wrongful death.
Here at Johnson & Taylor, we are committed to providing our clients with the best possible representation. We are known by our clients for being efficient and effective. It is our firm belief that all of our clients deserve to have their needs met during these very challenging times in their lives.
Our experienced team of lawyers is here to serve all residents of Oregon, which is why we offer free consultations. No matter the circumstances of your situation, we are fully committed to supporting you and helping you get back on your feet. Contact us today by using the link on our website or by calling (503) 990-6641 to schedule your free consultation with one of our attorneys. We are ready and willing to assist you in your time of need.
Note: Our team of writers utilizes secondary sources when creating these accident news posts. These sources include local and state police incident reports, news media outlets, social media posts, and at times, eyewitness accounts about accidents in and around Salem, Oregon. We have not independently verified all of the facts surrounding this accident. If you locate something incorrect in our post, please contact Johnson & Taylor right away so that we can correct the post with the updated information. We will take this post down if requested.
Disclaimer: The photo used in this post was not taken at this accident scene. This is not a solicitation for business. None of the information provided in this post is intended to be legal or medical advice.