Family members of a person who has been killed in Ontario are entitled to seek compensation from the liable party. In order to bring a claim against someone, the family must be able to establish that there is sufficient evidence to prove that the defendant either intentionally or negligently caused the death.

Only certain family members of the deceased individual are eligible to file a wrongful death claim against a liable party. These family members include the deceased person’s spouse, children, grandchildren, siblings, parents and grandparents. The family may proceed with litigation until a court ruling is reached, or they can agree to accept an early settlement that may be offered to them by the liable party.

Damages that a family could claim from the liable party in a fatal accident include reimbursement for financial losses as well as some emotional losses. The family may seek compensation for expenses that were incurred after the fatal injury was inflicted and before the death. Reimbursement for travel expenses and funeral expenses may also be claimed. Parents, a spouse and each child may be eligible to claim bereavement costs. Finally, a certain amount of damages may be recovered for the loss of companionship that would have been provided to the family members by the deceased person had they lived.

Gathering all the relevant evidence for a wrongful death claim might be difficult for a family after the loss of a loved one. Some families in this position choose to seek help from a lawyer. If the family is offered an early settlement, a lawyer may be able to counsel them about whether or not to accept the sum or continue with litigation in court.

Source: CanLII, “Family Law Act, RSO 1990, c F.3“, November 03, 2014

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