Parents of Maddi Higgins, West Linn Teen Killed in Car Accident, May File Wrongful Death Claim

Date: August 11, 2014

Location: Southwest Pete’s Mountain Road

Name: Maddi Higgins

Parents of Maddi Higgins, West Linn Teen Killed in Car Accident, May File Wrongful Death Claim


In June a West Linn teen, Maddi Higgins, died in a fatal car crash along with boyfriend Hayden Soyk when he struck a power pole on a rural road. Soyk was driving and died that night from his injuries and Higgins died the next day. The car was traveling at a high rate of speed when they spun out of control and hit the pole.

The family of Higgins is filing a wrongful death claim against Clackamas County. Higgins’ mother, Carrie Higgins, wants to see changes on the hilly road where teens often drive fast. The road is narrow and shoulders are small with very few speed limit signs, which are often ignored.

The Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office documented 13 accidents since 2010 on Southwest Pete’s Mountain Road. Six of the accidents reported no injuries and this one was the only fatal accident. There have been 45 fatal accidents on country roads since 2010.

Oregon wrongful death claims are allowed under ORS 30.010-30.100. But the law is much more complicated than a normal accident case. First of all, the statute of limitations (time limit on filing a claim) is different. For most car accidents, the SOL is 2 years, but for wrongful death, the SOL is “three years after the injury causing the death . . . is discovered or reasonably should have been discovered. . . .” In other words, it’s not three years from the date of death; it’s three years from the date of the original injury that ultimately caused the death.

Additionally, there are limits on who can bring a wrongful death claim. The most common claimants are:

  • Spouses
  • Children (including stepchildren)
  • Parents (including stepparents)

Less common claimants include:

  • Grandchildren
  • Siblings
  • Grandparents

In a wrongful death case, you can ask for compensation for several types of damages as well.

Compensatory damages include.

  • Charges for medical services;
  • Charges for burial and memorial services;
  • Compensation that the decedent would have been entitled to for disability, pain, suffering and loss of income during the period between injury and death;
  • Compensation for “pecuniary loss” to the decedent’s estate;
  • Compensation for the loss of the decedent’s “society, companionship and services” to the decedent’s spouse, children, stepchildren, stepparents, and parents;

Punitive damages are allowed as well, but are rare in Oregon since the State takes 70% of punitive damages awarded. If you have lost a loved one, call a Portland wrongful death attorney for help in securing the compensation you deserve.


About Sean DuBois

Sean is a personal injury attorney in Portland, OR. He has been recognized by Super Lawyers Magazine as Oregon Rising Stars for the past four years because of his dedication to justice and fair compensation for his clients. If you need to speak with a lawyer about your injury case, Sean can be reached at 503-222-4411.

Posted on September 3, 2014, in Portland personal injury attorneys and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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