Punitive damages are damages a court awards to punish a defendant for outrageous conduct. Another reason punitive damages are awarded is to deter similar behavior. To be awarded punitive damages, an Oregon plaintiff must show by “clear and convincing” evidence that a defendant “acted with malice or has shown a reckless and outrageous indifference to a highly unreasonable risk of harm and has acted with a conscious indifference to the health, safety and welfare of others.”

It used to be that Oregon law required that personal injury plaintiff s pay Oregon’s Victims Compensation Fund 60% of any punitive damages. Now, those in Oregon injured by another’s outrageous conduct get to keep just 30% of a punitive damage award. The first 60% of a punitive damages award goes to the Crime Victims Compensation Fund, the next 10% heads to the Oregon Judicial Department to help offset budget shortfalls. ORS 31.735

There’s a better way.A key to avoiding these draconian rules that take money from the injury victims is to avoid a punitive damage award while being willing to go the distance to get a punitive damage award. And, sometimes the publicity a punitive damage brings will hurt a defendant more than the award itself. With these two principals as a guide, Portland lawyer Richard Rizk has developed strategies to maximize his personal injury payouts to his clients. If you were the victim of outrageous conduct, contact Richard Rizk at (503) 245-5677 or by email at rich@rizklaw.com