In a previous post, I explained part of the Oregon Legislature's response to Covid-19, by extending many civil statutes of limitation. The length of the extension depends on the state of emergency ordered by Oregon's Governor, Kate Brown. On April 29, 2021, her office renewed Oregon's Covid -19 state of emergency. Under the current order, it will expire on June 28, 2021. That means the statute of limitations for many civil claims, including personal injury and wrongful death, will be extended, also referred to as tolled.
How long are the statutes of limitation extended?
The tolling period is 90 days from the expiration of the emergency order. That is September 26, 2021. However, since that is a Sunday, the best practice would be to file no later than Friday, September 24, 2021. In fact, the best practice is to not rely on this at all. The timeframe could be shortened if the state of emergency is declared prior to June 28, 2021.
What kinds of cases are affected?
The following timeframes are extended:
• Filing a personal injury lawsuit (normally two years from the date of incident)
• Filing a wrongful death lawsuit (normally three years from the date of incident)
• Notice of claim to a governmental entity (must normally be done within 180 days of the incident)
• Other pre-suit notices. For example, a dram shop (aka liquor liability) claim requires notice of claim be sent to the establishment within 180 days of the date of incident.
What about Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist cases?
UM/UIM claims are not affected. The time limitation for these cases is dictated by the terms of the policy, but in no event is it less than two years from the date of the collision.
How does the extension work?
To recap, a statute of limitations is the length of time in which a case must either be settled or within which a lawsuit can be filed. In Oregon, the statute of limitations for a personal injury case is two years, and the statute of limitations on a wrongful death case is three years.
However, due to complications from Covid-19, access to the courts has been disrupted. The Oregon Legislature passed a law that allows the statute of limitations to be tolled for 90 days after the expiration of a state of an emergency order.