Loss Of A Loved One In A Car Accident

By Anu Malhotra | October 24, 2012

Toronto Personal Injury Lawyer Anu Malhotra: No amount of money can ever replace the loss of a life. It is impossible to quantify the loss of a loved one to a family member in terms of dollars. However, money is the only thing that a court can award for such a loss. I am going to outline some the rules here.

The Family Law Act of Ontario states that if a person is killed by the fault or negligence of someone else, then the spouse (husband or wife), children, parents, grandparents, grandchildren, brother or sister can make a claim for wrongful death, involving such things as loss of care, companionship, and guidance.

In deciding the amounts for such claims, the courts look into the relationship between the deceased and the family members. For example, they consider the age and medical condition of the deceased, whether the deceased was living  with the family member, age of the family member, and the bond between the deceased and the family  member.

In some circumstances, the family members can also be entitled to compensation for a dependency claim. In situations where the victim was the only earning member or one of the earning members of the family, the surviving dependents have a right to sue for the loss of the income stream that has been stopped due to the death of the loved one. There are special ways to calculate such losses, and such calculations can be fairly complicated. Each case turns on its own facts.

For instance, I was involved with a case in which both parents of a minor girl were killed in a car accident. The little girl had no family in Canada, as her extended family lived in India. This case was resolved on the basis that substantial money was paid to ensure that the little girl’s living and educational needs would be met. With the approval of the court, the funds from the settlement were placed in a structure so that monthly benefits were paid to her guardian to take care of her. This allowed her to live with her extended family in India.

In addition to these types of damages, a surviving spouse is entitled to $25,000, and each eligible dependent is entitled to $10,000 of death benefits, regardless of who was at fault for the accident.  The standard automobile policy also provides for a maximum of $6,000 for funeral expenses. It is important to know if the deceased person’s policy provides for increased benefits, as well.

If you or someone you know has lost a loved one in a car accident, consult a person injury lawyer who has experience in dealing with such cases. In times of grief and sadness, a personal injury lawyer can help you minimize the stress of going through the litigation.

Anu Malhotra is a personal injury lawyer with Pace Law Firm in Toronto. Pace’s personal injury lawyers have been helping accident victims since 1980.