ORS 31.710
Limitation on award for noneconomic damages in claim for wrongful death

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Oregon Dog Bite Law

Dog Bite Law, May 3, 2023

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Bibliographic info


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 for the wrongful death of any one person including claims for loss of care, comfort, companionship and society and loss of consortium, the amount awarded for noneconomic damages, as defined in ORS 31.705 (Economic and noneconomic damages separately set forth in verdict), shall not exceed $500,000.


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; 2021 c.478 §1]
Note: Section 2, chapter 478, Oregon Laws 2021, provides:
Sec. 2. (1) Except as provided in subsection (2) of this section, the amendments to ORS 31.710 (Limitation on award for noneconomic damages in claim for wrongful death) by section 1 of this 2021 Act apply to all causes of action, whether arising before, on or after the effective date of this 2021 Act [January 1, 2022].


Intentionally left blank —Ed.


The amendments to ORS 31.710 (Limitation on award for noneconomic damages in claim for wrongful death) by section 1 of this 2021 Act do not apply to any award of noneconomic damages for which a final judgment has been entered before the effective date of this 2021 Act.


As used in this subsection, “final judgment” means a judgment for which the time to appeal has expired without any party filing an appeal or that is not subject to further appeal or review. [2021 c.478 §2]

Source: Section 31.710 — Limitation on award for noneconomic damages in claim for wrongful death, https://www.­oregonlegislature.­gov/bills_laws/ors/ors031.­html.

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)

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)

Exclusion from noneconomic damages cap includes all claims for injuries that are subject to workers’ compensation laws under ORS chapter 656, including third-party claims by or on behalf of workers injured in course and scope of employment. Vasquez v. Double Press Mfg., Inc., 364 Or 609, 437 P3d 1107 (2019)

Evidence in form of estimate of cost of repairs that victim obtained from auto-body repair shop was legally insufficient to establish that that amount of restitution was “reasonable.” State v. Rebollo Alvardo, 302 Or App 802, 462 P3d 322 (2020)

Failure of this section’s statutory cap on noneconomic damages to provide injured person with quid pro quo benefit to counterbalance injured person’s constitutional right to remedy resulted in this section violating remedy clause of Article I, section 10, of Oregon Constitution. Busch v. McInnis Waste Systems, Inc., 366 Or 628, 468 P3d 419 (2020)

This section, which caps noneconomic damages on claims arising out of bodily injury, death or property damage, does not cap noneconomic damages awarded on unlawful employment practice claim brought under ORS 659A.030. Zweizig v. Rote, 368 Or 79, 486 P3d 763 (2021)

Law Review Citations

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

Special motion to strike
Time for filing special motion to strike
Exempt actions
Certain felonious conduct of plaintiff complete defense in tort actions
Liability of radio or television station personnel for defamation
Damages recoverable for defamation by radio, television, motion pictures, newspaper or printed periodical
When general damages allowed
Publication of correction or retraction upon demand
Effect of publication of correction or retraction prior to demand
Publisher’s defenses and privileges not affected
Wrongful use of civil proceeding
Mandatory dispute resolution for certain actions against health practitioners and health care facilities
Definitions for ORS 31.260 to 31.278
Notice of adverse health care incident
Discussion of adverse health care incident
Discussion communications
Payment and resolution
Statute of limitations
Patient representatives
Duties of Oregon Patient Safety Commission
Use of information relating to notice of adverse health care incident
Task Force on Resolution of Adverse Health Care Incidents
Pleading requirements for actions against design professionals
Pleading requirements for actions against real estate licensees
Proof required for claim of economic damages in action arising from injury caused by dog
Presumption of absence of negligence if defendant conducts criminal records check through Department of State Police
“Advance payment” defined
Effect of advance payment
Advance payment for death or personal injury not admission of liability
Advance payment for property damage not admission of liability
Effect of collateral benefits
Contributory negligence not bar to recovery
Special questions to trier of fact
Liability of defendants several only
Setoff of damages not allowed
Doctrines of last clear chance and implied assumption of risk abolished
Right to include medical expenses paid by parent or conservator in action to recover for damages to child
Economic and noneconomic damages separately set forth in verdict
Limitation on award for noneconomic damages in claim for wrongful death
Limitation on recovery of noneconomic damages arising out of operation of motor vehicle
Pleading punitive damages
Standards for award of punitive damages
Distribution of punitive damages
When award of punitive damages against health practitioner prohibited
Evidence of nonuse of safety belt or harness to mitigate damages
Inadmissibility of calculation of future earning potential based on race or ethnicity
Right of contribution among joint tortfeasors
Basis for proportional shares of tortfeasors
Enforcement of right of contribution
Covenant not to sue
Assignment of cause of action against insurer
Action for alienation of affections abolished
Action for criminal conversation abolished
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