Losing a loved one is in itself difficult to cope with, but losing a loved one suddenly through a traumatic accident can be devastating. Trying to manage with the loss and continue living as normal a life as possible can be an overwhelming prospect. While no amount of financial compensation can truly make up for such a loss, Ontario’s Family Law Act allows for certain family members of a deceased person to make a claim for compensation for losses they may have suffered as a result of the loss of a loved one in a fatal accident. This law recognizes that there is a need to consider the importance of the role that the deceased person had in an individual’s and family’s life and allow for financial compensation.
In addition, the law also considers the financial repercussions of their passing and the burden that this places on family members. Persons entitled to recover damages are the deceased person’s spouse, including common-law spouse, children, grand-children, parents, grandparents, brothers, and sisters. In the event of a fatal accident caused by the fault of another, family members of the deceased person may be entitled to claim compensation such as:
- Loss of care, guidance and companionship that the deceased person would have provided to their family
- Loss of financial contribution that the person would have made to support their family
- Loss of household services and chores that the person would have done to support their family
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Out-of-pocket expenses reasonably incurred for the benefit of the deceased, travelling expenses during the deceased’s treatment, and either income allowance or the value of the expenses for the provision of nursing, housekeeping, or other services provided to the deceased
- Loss of income that family members suffer as a result of the death
Most of these categories can be translated into a pecuniary or economic loss, such as past and future income loss and out-of-pocket expenses. However, the loss of care, guidance and companionship is a non-pecuniary loss and its value is based on the relationship you had with the deceased person. As a result, courts assess each claim on an individual basis considering the unique circumstances surrounding that particular relationship to determine what financial compensation is appropriate for the loss incurred.
It is important to take note of some differences between Canadian and American law as it relates to non-pecuniary losses. In the United States many states allow compensation for grief, sorrow and mental anguish, but these grounds for recovery of damages are excluded in Canadian law which only allows compensation for the ‘loss of care, guidance and companionship’. This significant difference in law accounts for why we often hear in American media of immense sums of money being awarded as compensation to family members of a fatal accident victim, whereas in Canada compensation rarely ever reaches such phenomenal sums. Despite this, in Canada the distinctiveness of each fatal accident claim means that an experienced fatal accident lawyer will be able to highlight the uniqueness and strength of your own relationship with your deceased family member in order for you and your family to receive the compensation that you deserve and come one step closer to achieving a sense of closure.
While family members or dependants can make a claim regarding their losses after their loved one’s fatal accident, the deceased person themself through their estate does not have a right of claim for a fatal accident after their death. Instead, the estate of the deceased person has a right of claim for losses suffered before death. This means that the period in between when the accident occurred and when the deceased person succumbed to their injuries they are entitled to be compensated for the pain and suffering they endured.
For those in the grieving process the prospect of initiating a fatal accident claim can be intimidating, but with the right legal help, it doesn’t need to be. Roger R. Foisy is a qualified and experienced fatal accident lawyer who provides compassionate legal advice and support for family members affected by a fatal accident. Compelling representation with empathy and understanding is what can be expected from over 10 years of experience in helping families during such difficult and stressful times.
Roger R. Foisy and his team ensure that fatal accident cases are thoroughly investigated and the necessary experts are retained in situations when the cause of death is in question. Roger’s experience as a fatal accident lawyer and his ability to effectively advocate for all family members and their losses is what sets him apart in fatal accident lawsuits.