2007 ORS § 31.715¹
Limitation on recovery of noneconomic damages arising out of operation of motor vehicle
  • uninsured plaintiff
  • plaintiff driving under influence of intoxicants

(1) Except as provided in this section, a plaintiff may not recover noneconomic damages, as defined in ORS 31.710 (Noneconomic damages), in any action for injury or death arising out of the operation of a motor vehicle if the plaintiff was in violation of ORS 806.010 (Driving uninsured prohibited) or 813.010 (Driving under the influence of intoxicants) at the time the act or omission causing the death or injury occurred. A claim for noneconomic damages shall not be considered by the jury if the jury determines that the limitation on liability established by this section applies to the claim for noneconomic damages.

(2) For the purpose of the limitation on liability established by this section, a person is conclusively presumed to have been in violation of ORS 806.010 (Driving uninsured prohibited) or 813.010 (Driving under the influence of intoxicants) if the person is convicted in a criminal proceeding of one or both of those offenses. If the person has not been convicted of violating ORS 806.010 (Driving uninsured prohibited) or 813.010 (Driving under the influence of intoxicants), the defendant in the civil action may establish in the civil action, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the plaintiff was in violation of ORS 806.010 (Driving uninsured prohibited) or 813.010 (Driving under the influence of intoxicants) at the time the act or omission causing the death or injury occurred.

(3) The court shall abate a civil action upon the motion of any defendant in the civil action against whom a plaintiff has asserted a claim for noneconomic damages if the defendant alleges that the claim of the plaintiff is subject to the limitation on liability established by this section and:

(a) A criminal proceeding for a violation of ORS 813.010 (Driving under the influence of intoxicants) has been commenced against the plaintiff in the civil action at the time the motion is made; or

(b) The district attorney for the county in which the conduct occurred informs the court at the time the motion is made that criminal proceedings for a violation of ORS 813.010 (Driving under the influence of intoxicants) will be commenced against the plaintiff in the civil action.

(4) The court may order that only the claim that is subject to the limitation on liability established by this section be abated under subsection (3) of this section. An abatement under subsection (3) of this section shall remain in effect until the conclusion of the criminal proceedings.

(5) The limitation on liability established by this section does not apply if:

(a) The defendant in the civil action was also in violation of ORS 806.010 (Driving uninsured prohibited) or 813.010 (Driving under the influence of intoxicants) at the time the act or omission causing the death or injury occurred;

(b) The death or injury resulted from acts or omissions of the defendant that constituted an intentional tort;

(c) The defendant was engaged in conduct that would constitute a violation of ORS 811.140 (Reckless driving) at the time the act or omission causing the death or injury occurred; or

(d) The defendant was engaged in conduct that would constitute a felony at the time the act or omission causing the death or injury occurred.

(6) The limitation on liability established by this section based on a violation of ORS 806.010 (Driving uninsured prohibited) does not apply if the plaintiff in the civil action was insured under a motor vehicle liability insurance policy within 180 days before the act or omission occurred, and the plaintiff has not operated a motor vehicle in violation of ORS 806.010 (Driving uninsured prohibited) within the one-year period immediately preceding the date on which coverage under the motor vehicle liability insurance policy lapsed. [Formerly 18.592]