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Wrongful Death

When an individual passes away as a result of the negligence of another person or entity, the individual’s family (known as survivors) become entitled to a claim under the Fatal Accidents Act. Survivors include individuals such as a spouse or adult interdependent partner, siblings, children or stepchildren, parents or stepparents, and grandparents. This act allows the family to claim for bereavement damages, loss of dependency, and various expenses.

Bereavement Damages

Bereavement damages are meant to compensate a plaintiff for the grief and suffering caused by the loss of a family member. Under the provisions of the Fatal Accidents Act, a spouse or interdependent partner is entitled to $82,000. A parent is also entitled to $82,000, however, if both parents are alive, then the amount is shared. Children are entitled to $49,000 each. Bereavement damages are limited to spouses or adult interdependent partners, children, and parents. Siblings, stepchildren, and grandparents generally do not have a claim under this head of damage. These amounts are set by the provincial government and are reviewed on a regular basis. It is likely the amounts will increase in the future.

Loss of Dependency

Damages for loss of dependency are awarded to compensate a plaintiff for the loss of valuable services performed and financial assistance provided by a deceased family member.

  • Loss of Valuable Services: This head of damage is similar to a loss of valuable services claim when an individual is still alive. The Courts recognize that there is a financial value to services that were provided by an individual who has passed away, such as housekeeping or child care. The survivors are entitled to claim for this loss, even if they have not incurred an actual out-of-pocket financial loss as a result of losing a family member.

  • Loss of Financial Dependency: When a family member who passed away earned an income while they were living, the court recognizes that the survivors have lost the benefit of that income. This head of damage is similar to a claim for past and future loss of income claim while a plaintiff is still alive. The difference between the two is that when an individual has passed away, deductions need to be made for amounts that the individual would have spent solely on themselves. Additionally, when dealing with a spouse or adult interdependent partner, the Court would take into account the income they earned when calculating damages.

Funeral, Travel, Care, and Counselling Expenses

Survivors are entitled to claim for costs incurred while caring for an individual as a result of the negligence before they passed away. In addition, survivors are entitled to claim for travel costs to visit the individual, as well as funeral expenses and counselling that is required as a result of the death.

 

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