Civil Litigation in Oregon: The Complaint

In order to start any kind of litigation in the State of Oregon, the party initiating the claim must file paperwork in court. In most cases, this is referred to as either a "petition" or a "complaint." This article talks about the contents of a personal injury negligence claim complaint, and what is usually included in the body of the document.

Court rules and Oregon statute set out certain requirements for allegations that must be included in a complaint. First and foremost, the allegations in the complaint must allege facts that show that the complaint is being filed in the correct court. For example, in order for an Oregon court to have "jurisdiction" over the matter, the party bringing the claim must allege facts that show some connection to the State of Oregon. In an auto injury claim, this usually means that the collision occurred in the State of Oregon. In any other kind of tort claim or negligence claim, it is usually enough to show that the negligent behavior occurred in the State of Oregon. There may be some cases where the negligent behavior occurred elsewhere, and that raises issues beyond the scope of this article.

The next part of the complaint establishes "venue." The venue refers to the generally, in an auto injury claim, the appropriate venue is either within the county where the collision occurred, or where the defendant resides. There are situations where you may file a claim against the resident of another state and federal court, which again, raises issues beyond the scope of this article.

In the typical Oregon auto injury complaint, the attorney will include a description of the place where the collision occurred, and then described the behavior of each driver, Teena specific as possible. Following the description of the collision, the complaint will set out how the defendant was negligent in causing the collision. In many cases, the allegations will include several "particular's" of negligence. For example, somebody may have failed to keep a proper lookout, but they also may have been driving too fast under the conditions.

After explaining the basis of the negligent behavior, the complaint will describe the injury sustained by the injured plaintiff. Some complaints will describe a particular medical diagnosis, and then go on to talk about how that injury affected the plaintiff. For example, the plaintiff may have experienced certain symptoms, or may have certain limitations as a result of the injuries. Finally, the plaintiff must provide an amount of money for the compensation for non-economic losses.

The other part of the damages or losses suffered include economic damages, which are typically claims of lost income and medical expense.

In some cases, there are 2 different kinds of negligence claim arising from the same incident. For example, a defendant may have violated common-law rules of negligence, but also may have violated actual state statutes. If a defendant violated state statutes or rules, then the plaintiff may make a claim of "negligence per se." This allows a plaintiff to prove that if the defendant violated a statute, he or she is then negligent "per se."

The last part of the complaint is known as the "prayer." This is the part of the complaint where the plaintiff sets out the amount of money he or she is claiming as damages, as well as any other relief available from the court.

Other court rules require disclosure of the total amount of damages claimed, whether a jury trials requested, and whether the claim is subject to mandatory arbitration.

In many cases, the allegations in the complaint may be amended and adjusted over time.

Joe Di Bartolomeo
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Top-rated Personal Injury Lawyer Helping Oregon and Washington Families