Fatal Accidents: Compensation for the Loss of a Family Member

June 7 2017

Fatal accidents are never a pleasant topic but with Mother’s Day just past and Father’s Day approaching, we as personal injury lawyers are reminded of our many clients who have lost a mother, father, spouse, or child through the negligence of another.

What happens when the victim of a fatal accident is a parent, child or spouse?

In addition to CPP death benefits and Section B death benefits (if the death is as a result of a motor vehicle accident), you may also be entitled to claim damages from the parties who were at fault for the accident. These damages consist of:

  1. Bereavement Damages

Bereavement damages are for the loss of the guidance, care and companionship of the deceased and are mandated by legislation. In 2017 bereavement losses under the Fatal Accidents Act are:

  • $82,000.00 for a spouse or interdependent partner of the deceased
  • $82,000.00 for a parent or parents of the deceased (divided equally if the action is brought for both parents)
  • $49,000.00 for each child of the deceased
  1. Out of Pocket Expenses

These expenses include the cost of care for the deceased between injury and death, costs of the family to visit, funeral expenses and grief counselling.

  1. Dependency Damages

Dependency damages are designed to compensate family members who were dependent on the deceased person’s income and on the household services that were performed by the deceased. Some of the factors that are considered when calculating the dependency loss for appropriate family members include:

  • What would the career path of the deceased have been?
  • What would the future earnings of the deceased have been?
  • How many years would the deceased have lived if the accident had not occurred?
  • At what age would the deceased have retired?
  • What portion of the deceased’s income would have been available to his or her dependent family members?
  • If a claim is made by a surviving spouse, what are the anticipated future earnings of that spouse?
  • What age would a child’s dependency on a parent’s income or household services have come to an end?
  • What household services did the deceased perform?
  • What portion of the deceased household services were performed for the benefit of his or her dependent family members?
  • How much time did the deceased devote to taking care of the children?

Who can help?

The calculation of the dependency loss involves the consideration of tax implications and various contingencies and legal principles. As a result, it is usually necessary to retain an economist to determine the amount of this loss.

At CAM LLP we understand the grief that accompanies the death of a loved one, and when the death is due to the actions of another, there are additional challenges and struggles that can be involved. During this time it is difficult to turn your mind to protecting the financial interests of your children and family. It may be helpful to consult a personal injury lawyer who has experience handling fatality claims to guide you through the process. If you have lost a family member and have questions about the compensation you and your family are entitled to, please Contact Us for a free consultation. We will listen to your story, help you understand your rights, and if it’s an appropriate case, represent you to ensure that you receive the compensation that you are entitled to.

Note: Additional information on compensation is included in Fatal Accidents: Damages and Compensation for Wrongful Death of a Loved One.