Oregon Product Liability Laws

Regardless of your occupation or lot in life, the typical Oregonian uses countless products every day, from beer-making equipment to camping gear. If a product you use causes an injury or property damage, you may be able to receive compensation for that harm. Product liability lawsuits attempt to hold manufacturers and sellers accountable for putting unreasonably dangerous products on the market.

The following table outlines key sections of Oregon's product liability laws, followed by explanations of time limits, limits on compensation, potential defenses, and more.

Statute of Limitations

2 years for personal injury and personal property damage (Sec. 30.905(1))

3 years for wrongful death (Sec. 30.905(3))

Discovery Rule Used Yes (Sec. 30.905(1))
Statute of Repose 10 years (Sec. 30.905(2))
Limits on Damages

Intermediate economic loss rule (Sec. 30.920; Russell v. Ford Motor Co., 281 Or 587 (1978)); punitive damages allowed under certain conditions (Sec. 30.925, Sec. 31.730)

Comparative Fault Modified Comparative Fault (Sec. 31.600)

Time Limits

While product liability law provides a way for you to be compensated for harm caused by defective products, Oregon's time limit for filing those lawsuits is two years from the date of the injury. However, under Oregon's discovery rule, the clock doesn't start until you discover, or reasonably should have discovered, the damage and its connection to the defective product.

Oregon also has a statute of repose which requires a claim be filed within 10 years of purchasing the product, or within the statute of repose for the state in which the product was made, whichever is later.

Limits on Damages

Oregon law limits damages in some product liability cases. The state's modified comparative negligence rule states that if you were 50 percent or less to blame for causing an accident, you may still recover damages, but those damages will be reduced in proportion to your fault. This means that if you were 20 percent at fault, a $10,000 award will be reduced to $8,000. Oregon also has an intermediate economic loss rule which states that if the only harm that occurred was to the product itself, you may still recover if the product also posed a risk of serious harm to people or other property.

Theories of Liability

In Oregon, you can file a products liability lawsuit against a manufacturer, seller, lessor, and distributor for damage caused by any of the following:

  1. A manufacturing or other defect in a product;
  2. A design, inspection, or testing defect in a product;
  3. A failure to warn or give proper instruction regarding a product

 

In each of these claims, the plaintiff must prove that the product was unreasonably dangerous by showing that it was more dangerous than the ordinary consumer would consider it to be. For manufacturing defect cases, the claim is that somewhere during the production process, the product strayed from its intended design. In design defect cases, the danger is inherent in the design of the product, regardless of whether or not it's manufactured perfectly.

Even if the product was designed and manufactured appropriately, the plaintiff can argue that the manufacturer had a duty to warn consumers of the dangers of using its product. In Oregon, the duty to warn continues to exist even after the product is sold if the plaintiff and defendant have an ongoing relationship.

Defenses

In addition to the time limits discussed above, a defendant in a product liability suit may argue that the product was modified or misused in an unforeseeable way after it left the defendant's control. Or, he or she can try to show that the danger of the product was so open and obvious that the product was not unreasonably dangerous. The defendant can also try to refute any elements of the claims discussed above.

Get a Free Case Review from an Oregon Attorney

Manufacturers and others in the supply chain are required to supply products that are safe when used as intended. Whether you were burned by a defective coffee maker or your child was hurt by a malfunctioning stroller, product defects can cause serious damage, and you should be compensated for expenses like lost wages and medical bills. Get a free case review from an experienced attorney familiar with Oregon's product liability laws.

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