In the unfortunate event of a fatal accident, certain family members of the victim may have a claim for both pecuniary damages (economic losses) and non-pecuniary damages (pain and suffering losses). The right to claim these damages comes from the Family Law Act.
Damages following a fatal accident may be awarded to a spouse, children, grandchilden, parents, grandparents and siblings of the person who died.
Damages for pecuniary / financial damages are usually only successful if they are advanced by someone who was living with the person who died or who was dependant on the income of the person who died. Every situation is different, so check with a lawyer to see if you would have a claim for financial damages.
The Family Law Act also provides for payment of reasonable funeral expenses. The Statutory Accident Benefits regime for car accident victims also offers some coverage for these expenses.
The damages awarded for non-financial losses (such as pain and suffering) are not as high in Ontario as they should be. The factors the court will consider are the following:
- Has there been an actual loss of care, companionship and guidance;
- Damages are NOT awarded for grief, sorrow or mental anguish;
- Each claim will be assessed on its own facts, with a judge considering: the age, mental and physical condition of the person making the claim, whether the injured party lived with the claimant and if not, the frequency of the family visits; whether the person making the claim is emotional self sufficient and the joint life expectancy of the claimant and the injured party.
If you have lost a loved one in a fatal accident, the personal injury lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth would be pleased to discuss with you the options you have to pursue a claim for compensation. To speak with an accident lawyer, call 613 233-4529 or email us at [email protected].