Tort Actions

ORS 31.710
Noneconomic damages

  • award
  • limit
  • “economic damages” and “noneconomic damages” defined


Except for claims subject to ORS 30.260 (Definitions for ORS 30.260 to 30.300) to 30.300 (ORS 30.260 to 30.300 exclusive) and ORS chapter 656, in any civil action seeking damages arising out of bodily injury, including emotional injury or distress, death or property damage of any one person including claims for loss of care, comfort, companionship and society and loss of consortium, the amount awarded for noneconomic damages shall not exceed $500,000.


As used in this section:


“Economic damages” means objectively verifiable monetary losses including but not limited to reasonable charges necessarily incurred for medical, hospital, nursing and rehabilitative services and other health care services, burial and memorial expenses, loss of income and past and future impairment of earning capacity, reasonable and necessary expenses incurred for substitute domestic services, recurring loss to an estate, damage to reputation that is economically verifiable, reasonable and necessarily incurred costs due to loss of use of property and reasonable costs incurred for repair or for replacement of damaged property, whichever is less.


“Noneconomic damages” means subjective, nonmonetary losses, including but not limited to pain, mental suffering, emotional distress, humiliation, injury to reputation, loss of care, comfort, companionship and society, loss of consortium, inconvenience and interference with normal and usual activities apart from gainful employment.


This section does not apply to punitive damages.


The jury shall not be advised of the limitation set forth in this section. [Formerly 18.560]

(formerly 18.560)

Notes of Decisions

Economic damages awarded for pecuniary loss in wrongful death actions are not limited to objectively verifiable monetary losses. Ingram v. Acands, Inc., 977 F2d 1332 (1992)

Plaintiff need not present evidence of past employment or intent of future employment to collect damages for reduced earning capacity. Richmond v. Zimbrick Logging, Inc., 124 Or App 631, 863 P2d 520 (1993), Sup Ct review denied

Where personal injury was not essential element of claim, instruction that jury must find noneconomic damages before awarding economic damages was erroneous. Whitman-McCoy v. Dept. of Corrections, 132 Or App 45, 887 P2d 375 (1994)

Pleadings in negligence claim could include allegation of harm based on birth of healthy normal child. Zehr v. Haugen, 318 Or 647, 871 P2d 1006 (1994)

Term "objectively verifiable monetary losses" does not impose proof requirement that monetary loss be objectively verified. DeVaux v. Presby, 136 Or App 456, 902 P2d 593 (1995)

Definition of "economic damages" as damages that are objectively verifiable does not require that jury be informed of tax consequences of award. Purcell v. Asbestos Corp., Ltd., 153 Or App 415, 959 P2d 89 (1998), modified 155 Or App 1, 963 P2d 729 (1998), Sup Ct review denied

Amount of charges necessarily "incurred" for medical services is amount that party becomes liable or subject to at time party receives treatment, regardless of amounts provider subsequently writes off. White v. Jubitz Corp., 219 Or App 62, 182 P3d 215 (2008), aff'd 347 Or 212, 219 P3d 566 (2009)

Plaintiff's claims for work-related injury brought against third party defendant unaffiliated with plaintiff's employer are not subject to exception from statutory cap on noneconomic damages for workers' compensation claims. Vasquez v. Double Press Mfg., Inc., 288 Or App 503, 406 P3d 225 (2017), Sup Ct. review allowed

Cap on noneconomic damages, as applied to plaintiff's award for work-related injuries against third party manufacturer, was unconstitutional violation of remedy clause because damages cap had effect of reducing plaintiff's award from $6,199,090 to $1,839,090, which resulted in non-substantial award and did not take into account identifiable quid pro quo benefit for plaintiff. Vasquez v. Double Press Mfg., Inc., 288 Or App 503, 406 P3d 225 (2017), Sup Ct. review allowed

Application of noneconomic damages cap is unconstitutional when result is dramatic reduction of noneconomic damages for most grievously injured plaintiffs. Rains v. Stayton Builders Mart, Inc., 289 Or App 672, 410 P3d 336 (2018)

Law Review Citations

24 WLR 285 (1988); 26 WLR 198 (1989)


Last accessed
Jun. 26, 2021