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Recovering damages for fatal accidents in Canada

Sadly, many people in Canada and in Ontario lose their lives each year in motor vehicle accidents. The law provides loved ones the ability to sue on behalf of the deceased person, in order to recover damages for the pecuniary losses they have suffered as a result of the death.

The Family Law Act provides that the spouse, children, parents, grandparents and siblings of the decedent may all recover damages by filing a civil lawsuit against the negligent driver. The Act also outlines specific categories of available damages through such a suit.

Families may be able to recover all actual expenses that occurred for the benefit of the deceased, actual funeral expenses, travel expenses due to visiting the loved one while he or she was receiving treatment and loss of income expenses or loss of the value of provided services. Additionally, families may be able to recover damages for loss of the companionship, guidance and care of their deceased loved one. When the deceased was partially at fault, the court will take into consideration the percentage of his or her own negligence in determining damage amounts.

In many cases, defendants will make a settlement offer that can be apportioned after the offer has been made and accepted. If any insurance payment for the death was received, the court will also take that into consideration. By filing a wrongful death lawsuit against a negligent driver who is responsible for the death of their loved one, families may be able to recover damages to help address the expenses and costs they incurred as a result. When people have lost a family member in a fatal motor vehicle crash, they may benefit by speaking with a personal injury lawyer. A lawyer can help file a civil complaint in order to recover damages.

Source: CanLII, “Family Law Act, RSO 1990, c F.3,” Nov. 3, 2014