The days and weeks following the sudden loss of a family member are often a whirlwind of memorial preparations, complicated estate negotiations, and above all, immense sorrow and grief. While it may seem difficult to add civil litigation to the list of responsibilities you are dealing with, recovering financially for the losses someone else’s negligence has caused you could be crucial to both your and your family’s futures.
Once retained, a compassionate Collingwood wrongful death lawyer could guide you through the process of filing a claim on behalf of your deceased loved one. With assistance of an expert-ranked trial lawyer, you may be able to effectively pursue compensation for various expenses and losses related to your family member’s unexpected death.
In Collingwood, wrongful death claims are governed by the Family Law Act. First passed by the Legislative Assembly in 1990, this Act governs how family members of deceased individuals should have that individual’s assets divided among them, as well as how eligible parties can take civil action on a deceased person’s behalf.
According to Part 5 of the Family Law Act, the following parties are eligible to file a wrongful death claim in Collingwood:
In order to successfully recover damages, you must prove that your family member’s unexpected passing stemmed directly from someone else’s negligent behaviour, and that the circumstances would have allowed the decedent to file civil suit if they had survived their injuries. Furthermore, surviving family members must demonstrate they proximately suffered damages themselves because of their loved one’s wrongful death.
Finally, it is important to ensure that wrongful death suits are filed within the deadline set by the Limitations Act. For most Family Law Act claims, the applicable deadline is two years following the wrongful death, but this period may be shortened if a municipal, provincial, or county entity in Ontario bears liability.
The purpose of a wrongful death claim is to provide compensation for damages that family members suffer as a result of someone else’s negligence. To that end, both pecuniary and non-pecuniary damages may be available, depending on the circumstances. Basically, family members are entitled to sue for the loss of care, guidance, companionship as well as services rendered and to be rendered. They are also entitled to claim for the financial benefit they would have derived from their loved one. This is known as a dependency claim and requires the use of an experienced expert to calculate.
A lawyer in Collingwood could work with you to pursue restitution for various financial costs associated with a loved one’s wrongful death, including medical expenses for injury care prior to their passing, funeral and burial expenses, lost income from time spent caring for them, and lost financial support from the decedent. Compensation may also be available for loss of services the decedent provided at home, as well as for costs associated with travel to visit the decedent prior to their death.
In most wrongful death claims, though, the bulk of recoverable damages are non-economic in nature, having to do with the intangible impacts of a family member’s unexpected death. A settlement demand or court verdict may seek damages for loss of guidance, loss of emotional support, loss of companionship and/or consortium, and emotional anguish.
There is no amount of money that can make up for the loss of a loved one. That being said, compensation from a wrongful death claim can still be a very important part of your family’s recovery process, because it can help ensure you do not suffer financially because of another person’s reckless or careless actions.
The first step to understanding your legal options is speaking to a qualified Collingwood wrongful death lawyer. Call Rastin Trial Lawyers today to schedule an initial consultation.