Wrongful death claims arise when someone loses their life due to the negligence or reckless actions of another. Claims are brought by the deceased’s estate or loved ones against the person(s) or party who is legally liable for the death.
When is a wrongful death claim available?
A wrongful death suit can be pursued if the victim would have had the basis to file a personal injury claim — had he or she not died. Claims are brought under the Family Law Act, which entitles close family members of the deceased to compensation.
Damages that can be claimed are:
- Survival claim (for the ‘pain and suffering’ of the victim before death)
- Costs of medical treatment
- Funeral expenses
- Loss of expected income (of the deceased)
- Loss of inheritance due to death
- Loss of love and affection (consortium)
Financial compensation cannot bring back a loved one, but it can help to provide for the surviving family members’ future and their standard of living. Speak to a wrongful death lawyer to discuss the circumstances of a loved one’s wrongful death.
How do you prove wrongful death?
A wrongful death suit is essentially a tort claim. To succeed, a wrongful death claim must prove negligence, which involves the following essential elements:
- The defendant owed a duty of care to the victim
- The defendant did not meet the standard of care
- The victim’s death was caused as a result of this breach
- The claim for compensation arises as a result of death
According to the Limitations Act, most personal injury claims must be brought within two years of the cause of action being discovered. Some accidents, such as those involving slip and falls involving transit authorities such as the TTC, and municipalities, often involve limitation periods of just 10 days.
What qualifies as wrongful death?
Instances when a family/estate may have a valid wrongful death claim are:
- If the victim has been killed intentionally, a civil claim may be pursued, separate and apart from criminal prosecution.
- If a person dies due to medical malpractice, such as arising out of misdiagnosis or lack of medical care.
- Death due to a car accident or as a result of the injuries suffered in a car accident.
Who can file a wrongful death claim?
A suit for wrongful or accidental death can be brought by: a representative of the deceased’s estate; a close family member (such as spouse, parent, children, grandchildren); or someone else legally empowered by the deceased.
Statutory accident benefits for death due to a car accident
It is a misconception that statutory accident benefits after a car accident are only available to those involved in the accident. In fact, a family can receive death and funeral benefits under Ontario’s Statutory Accident Benefits regime. It provides compensation to spouses, dependants, former spouses and others to whom the deceased owed an obligation.
Statutory accident benefits also cover the deceased individual’s funeral expenses.
If you or someone you know has lost a loved one, speak to a wrongful death lawyer at Pace Law Firm. We provide compassionate and caring guidance during a very difficult time, and we can help you achieve justice for the loss you have suffered.