ORS 31.800
Right of contribution among joint tortfeasors

  • limitations
  • subrogation of insurer
  • effect on indemnity right


Except as otherwise provided in this section, where two or more persons become jointly or severally liable in tort for the same injury to person or property or for the same wrongful death, there is a right of contribution among them even though judgment has not been recovered against all or any of them. There is no right of contribution from a person who is not liable in tort to the claimant.


The right of contribution exists only in favor of a tortfeasor who has paid more than a proportional share of the common liability, and the total recovery of the tortfeasor is limited to the amount paid by the tortfeasor in excess of the proportional share. No tortfeasor is compelled to make contribution beyond the proportional share of the tortfeasor of the entire liability.


A tortfeasor who enters into a settlement with a claimant is not entitled to recover contribution from another tortfeasor whose liability for the injury or wrongful death is not extinguished by the settlement nor in respect to any amount paid in a settlement which is in excess of what is reasonable.


A liability insurer, who by payment has discharged in full or in part the liability of a tortfeasor and has thereby discharged in full its obligation as insurer, is subrogated to the tortfeasor’s right of contribution to the extent of the amount it has paid in excess of the tortfeasor’s proportional share of the common liability. This subsection does not limit or impair any right of subrogation arising from any other relationship.


This section does not impair any right of indemnity under existing law. Where one tortfeasor is entitled to indemnity from another, the right of the indemnity obligee is for indemnity and not contribution, and the indemnity obligor is not entitled to contribution from the obligee for any portion of the indemnity obligation.


This section shall not apply to breaches of trust or of other fiduciary obligation. [Formerly 18.440]

Source: Section 31.800 — Right of contribution among joint tortfeasors; limitations; subrogation of insurer; effect on indemnity right, https://www.­oregonlegislature.­gov/bills_laws/ors/ors031.­html.

Notes of Decisions

Statute granting the right of contribution among joint tortfeasors is not retroactive and therefore no joint tortfeasor has a right to contribution unless the tort for which contribution is sought was committed on or after the effective date of the statute. Coos-Curry Elec. v. Curry County, 26 Or App 645, 554 P2d 601 (1976)

In contribution suit, third party defendant is liable to original defendant-third party plaintiff for portion of total liability only if original plaintiff could have recovered against third party defendant. Miller v. City of Portland, 288 Or 271, 604 P2d 1261 (1980)

Where party had been found not liable to original plaintiff by virtue of summary judgment in separate lawsuit, there was no cause of action for contribution under this section. Blackledge v. Harrington, 291 Or 691, 634 P2d 243 (1981)

Tortfeasor who settles plaintiff’s claims against all tortfeasors is not barred from recovering contribution on theory that resulting dismissal constitutes judgment that tortfeasors who did not participate in settlement are “not liable in tort to the claimant.” Transport Indemnity Co. v. BB and S, Inc., 63 Or App 392, 664 P2d 1115 (1983), Sup Ct review denied

State is “person” for purposes of paying or recovering contribution. Beaver v. Pelett, 299 Or 664, 705 P2d 1149 (1985)

Contribution claim notice by defendant is insufficient to make state liable in tort to claimant under ORS 30.275. Beaver v. Pelett, 299 Or 664, 705 P2d 1149 (1985); Mitchell v. Sherwood, 161 Or App 376, 985 P2d 870 (1999), Sup Ct review denied

State’s third-party contribution claim against plaintiff’s attorney in earlier action, alleging that he was negligent in failing to “monitor” entry of order in that action and that his negligence contributed to damages sustained by plaintiff was wrongly dismissed and was not subject to defense of “no duty,” even if ORCP 63E directs court clerk to send attorney notice of entry of order. Simpson v. State of Oregon, 94 Or App 15, 764 P2d 580 (1988)

Where insurance company sought contribution under this section based on allegation that Oregon Health Sciences University and state were responsible for obligation insurance company discharged, but only partially, as subrogee of resident doctor and hospital at which malpractice allegedly occurred, insurance company’s allegations do not establish right to contribution as matter of law. Aetna Casualty & Surety Co. v. OHSU, 310 Or 61, 793 P2d 320 (1990)

Where claim settled without trial, contribution plaintiff was not required to prove damage and liability details of underlying suit to recover from contribution defendant. Jensen v. Alley, 128 Or App 673, 877 P2d 108 (1994), Sup Ct review denied

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
Green check means up to date. Up to date