Personal Injury Lawyers Help with Wrongful Death Claims

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Personal Injury Lawyers Help with Wrongful Death Claims

Wrongful Death

 When a spouse, child, or sibling is killed in an accident, family members are often in shock. These traumatic deaths strike without warning: one moment your family is whole, and the next, life changes forever. Survivors might feel misplaced responsibility for the accident; they may have thoughts like, “if only I had delayed him for a few minutes on his way out the door this morning, he would still be alive.” In some cases, those left behind may feel sorrow that they didn’t have a chance to say goodbye, or say a last “I love you.” Family members may be grieving differently, causing friction that leads to more pain.


If you’ve lost a loved one in an accident, your family will need time to grieve and to develop a “new normal”. The unexpected death of a loved one is by definition one of the low points of your life, and you may be coping with your grief moment-to-moment. This can be the absolute worst possible time to attempt to think about legal or insurance issues. But with any death, and accidental deaths in particular, there are certain tasks that need to be done. It’s at this, the toughest of times, that a personal injury lawyer can be a great support to your family.


What a Personal Injury Lawyer Can Do

 If your family member’s accident was caused by another party’s behaviour or negligence, you may be eligible to file a wrongful death claim or to take legal action against the at-fault party. Unfortunately, there are strict timelines that govern some of these options, so it’s a good idea to consult with a personal injury lawyer as soon as you are able to. An initial consultation with one of these lawyers is usually free in Ontario, and you will be able to ask for advice as to your options going forward.


A personal injury lawyer will be knowledgeable about the insurance industry and the legal system and will have experience with filing these types of claims. They will know how to deal with the complex paperwork required in these cases and will know which records to include. They may need to consult with witnesses to the accident or talk to police. They can deal with details that would be much too painful for family members to revisit.


While it’s obvious that monetary compensation does not in any way help the victim’s family deal with their grief, it can lessen the financial stress that is placed on the household. An insurance settlement or damages payment can help to defray medical expenses and costs associated with the funeral or memorial; it can also compensate for lost income. When a loved one dies accidentally, difficult decisions about the future may need to be made. Having a sum of money available may make it easier to cope with changes, or to keep the current household running. A personal injury lawyer can navigate the system efficiently for you in order to reduce stress on your family.


Wrongful Death Claims

In Ontario, there are regulations regarding who can make a wrongful death claim. Those eligible must meet the following criteria:

  • They must be related to the deceased person in one of the ways described in Ontario’s Family Law Act. (Spouse, children, grandchildren, parents, grandparents, or siblings.)
  • The deceased person died through the fault or neglect of another.
  • The circumstances of the accident were such that the victim would have been entitled to recover damages if he or she had not died.
  • The family members who are making the claim have suffered damages of their own as a result of the death.

Your family may be able to receive amounts correlating to:

  • Loss of income that the deceased person would have provided to the family.
  • An amount to compensate for the loss of guidance, care, and companionship.
  • The costs of caring for the deceased person after his or her injury but before death.
  • Travel costs for family members visiting the deceased person after the injury but before his or her death.
  • Lost income of a family member who cared for the deceased person before death.
  • Increased expenses incurred because of the victim’s death. (For example, childcare that had been provided by a parent who died.)
  • Funeral expenses.

In the case of a motor vehicle accident, in addition to the compensation that family members may recover through a wrongful death claim, they may also be able to recover benefits under Ontario’s Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule (SABS). These might include:

  • Spouse’s benefit. A payment to the deceased’s spouse of $25,000.
  • Dependants’ benefits. A payment of $10,000 to each of the deceased’s dependants in the amount of $10,000. (If the deceased was not married at the time of death then the $25,000 spousal amount will be split equally among the deceased’s dependants.)
  • Funeral benefit. Funeral expenses up to $6,000.

In each of these categories, the payout will be larger if additional optional coverage was purchased.


Having a member of your family pass away unexpectantly due to an accident is never something anyone wants to encounter. If your loved one has suffered a wrongful death, consult with a personal injury lawyer, and learn more about the compensation that may be available to your family.