Oregon Senate Panel Approves Higher Liability Caps

February 17, 2009

Lawsuits against Oregon state and local governments could get bigger under a bill approved by the Oregon Senate Judiciary Committee.

The proposal, Senate Bill 311, would increase government liability caps to boost the maximum amount of money a jury can award for injuries caused by government negligence.

The bill resulted from a 2007 Oregon Supreme Court ruling that the current $200,000 cap was inadequate to meet the needs of a boy who suffered brain damage from medical negligence at Oregon Health & Science University.

Under the proposal, the cap increases $100,000 a year to a maximum of $1.5 million by 2015 for individual claims against state government, $3 million for all claims from a single incident. After that, the amounts are indexed to inflation.

Cities, counties, school boards and special districts are subject to lower caps.

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