Wrongful Death of a Spouse

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Wrongful Death of a Spouse

Wrongful death of a spouse can devastate your family. Learn more about personal injury lawyers and filing a claim.

Article Written By: Glenna M.
Wrongful Death of a Spouse

Grief is debilitating. It comes in waves, taking your breath away. Grief can leave you exhausted, foggy, and anxious. And when the person you’ve lost is a spouse, there’s no part of your life that remains untouched by it. The partner you expected to spend the next decades with is gone, and you have to carve out a new way to live, a new normal. You may have many challenges: you may now be the sole parent of your children, for example, or you may be experiencing extreme financial pressures. Unfortunately, if your spouse died accidentally, you are also expected to make decisions regarding insurance claims and legal action swiftly: at a time when you are most vulnerable, you are expected to think clearly enough to make choices that will affect your family for years to come. That’s why it’s important to seek legal representation swiftly after a spouse’s accidental death. Whether your loved one died as the result of a motor vehicle collision, a medical error, or a work accident, you may have grounds for a lawsuit. A good personal injury attorney can stand with you during this time and advise you about your options, and your rights.


Filing a Wrongful Death Claim

Eligibility to file a wrongful death claim is not limited to spouses. Parents, grandparents, children, grandchildren, and siblings can also file. Of course, nothing can ever compensate for the loss of a family member. But often filing a claim against the person or institution responsible can be empowering for the survivors. And in cases where survivors are struggling financially, compensation can help to ease the economic pressure. One thing to consider is that time restrictions apply to this process, so it’s important to consult an attorney as soon as possible.


Family members can claim compensation for many aspects of their loss. Some of these include:

  • Funeral expenses
  • Healthcare expenses incurred before death
  • An amount to compensate a dependent for lost income
  • Loss of household services that would have been provided throughout the marriage
  • An amount to compensate for the loss of companionship or loss of guidance to dependents

Many factors are considered regarding the damages awarded to survivors. Was the deceased the sole wage earner for the family? Are there minor children? Were there any separations or a pending divorce affecting the marriage?


Damages in these types of cases are usually structured so that the surviving spouse receives 60-70% of the deceased spouse’s net income from the time of death forward to a date when the spouse might reasonably have been expected to retire.


What is a Wrongful Death Claim?

Basically, a wrongful death is one that was caused by the negligence or illegal behaviour of a person, company, or government agency. No two claims are the same, and it can be difficult to ascertain whether or not you have the grounds for a successful claim. Talking to a personal injury lawyer can help to make this clear.


There are a wide variety of circumstances that can result in a wrongful death claim. The following are some examples of wrongful death claims that have been filed in recent years in Ontario:

  • A Toronto woman filed a claim against a nursing home that allowed her father to develop a large, infected bedsore that was a contributing factor to his death.
  • An Ottawa mother and father filed a wrongful death claim against General Motors after their son died in a car accident after the airbag in his car failed to deploy.
  • A Brampton family is filing a wrongful death claim against a hospital where their son completed suicide, despite doctors having placed him on suicide watch.
  • The parents of a 33-year-old woman who went to a Toronto hospital complaining of a toothache and died several hours later filed a claim against the hospital.
  • An Owen Sound man filed a claim against a speeding driver who collided with his family’s car, killing his pregnant wife and the unborn baby.
  • The family of a Renfrew man who left a hospital ward unnoticed by staff and returned home to murder his mother filed a wrongful death claim against the hospital.
  • The parents of a toddler who died in an overcrowded Toronto home daycare filed a claim against Ontario’s Ministry of Education.
  • A Guelph man filed a suit against a chiropractor. The chiropractor worked on the man’s forty-year-old wife, who died three weeks after a treatment on her neck.
  • The family of a teenager who died when he fell from a float at a Brampton parade filed a wrongful death claim against parade organizers.
  • A Toronto family filed a wrongful death claim against a doctor who unilaterally placed a “Do Not Resuscitate” order on their mother’s hospital chart.
  • The family of a woman who died when a van struck a tow truck on the QEW near Credit Valley filed a claim against the driver of the van, who was charged with drunk driving.
If you think that your spouse died due to the negligence or illegal behaviour of another person, a company, or a government agency, contact a personal injury lawyer today.