The 2009 Legislature, acting on the recommendations of a review task force set up in 2008, adjusted liability limits for the state and local public bodies for lawsuits against them for personal injury and property damage.
Since 1967, the Oregon Tort Claims Act has governed lawsuits against the state and other public bodies. In addition to special notice requirements, the Act set limits for the amounts a person could recover for injuries caused by the negligence of a person employed by a public body. Prior to 2009, a person was limited to a claim of $100,000 and up to $200,000 under certain circumstances.
The 2009 Legislature recognized that these limits had not been adjusted for inflation and they needed to be increased in order to provide fair compensation for persons injured by the negligence of a public body.
The new limits are different for the state and local public bodies. Now, for lawsuits against the state for injuries caused between December of 2007 and July 1, 2010 the limit is $1,500,000 for a single claimant and up to $3,000,000 for injuries to multiple people in a single event. For local public bodies, like cities and counties, the limit is now $500,000 for a single claimant and up to $1,000,000 for injuries to multiple people in a single event. The property damage limit was raised from $50,000 to $100,000.
The good news is that the Legislature set incremental increases in the limits for both the state and local public bodies over the next five years. After that, the limits will increase annually according to inflation, as determined by the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
This is a significant step to ensure fairness for persons injured through the negligence of a public entity. As an Oregon Personal Injury Attorney, James F. O’Rourke, Jr. aggressively pursues claims on behalf of those injured by the negligence of the state or other public bodies.