wrongful death claim

Wrongful Death and Family Member Claims


Date Posted:

February 11, 2022

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    Wrongful deaths are deaths caused by negligence or, in rare cases, intentionally. They are always tragic and are almost always avoidable. The most common causes of accidental wrongful deaths are: 

    Claims of wrongful death enable families to receive compensation for losses (both financial and non-financial) incurred due to the passing of their loved one(s). In wrongful-death situations, the deceased’s family members can bring a wrongful death claim against the company or individual whose inattention caused or contributed to the premature death.

    Under Ontario’s Family Law Act, the following relatives of a deceased family member in the case of wrongful death can file for compensation:

    • Children
    • Spouses, including common-law spouses
    • Siblings
    • Grandparents
    • Grandchildren

    Compensation for Family Members in Cases of Wrongful Death

    Although the unexpected death of a loved one can be severely distressing for the family members, it is even more distressing for the family members in cases where the accidental death was due to negligence or was preventable. Some family members may never come to terms with the loss of their loved one. Of course, no monetary amount will undo the tragedy of losing a loved one. Civil actions, therefore, do not aim to quantify the value of a person’s life in terms of money but rather to compensate the family member(s) with damages that they would have received had the deceased individual survived. The compensation for which a claimant qualifies depends on:

    • Whether the deceased individual was the primary caregiver or family provider
    • The deceased individual’s age
    • The relationship proximity between the claimant and the deceased individual.

    Moreover, a member of the deceased individual’s family could claim one or all of the following:

    • Income that the deceased individual would have afforded the claimant had the death not occurred;
    • Loss of companionship, care and guidance that the claimant would have, within reason, expected to receive had the death not happened;
    • Family members’ travel expenses from visiting their loved one before the death;
    • Losses of income that the claimant because of their loved one’s death (e.g., if, before the death, they were in charge of looking after their loved one or could not work because of emotional suffering;
    • Cost of a caregiver or household services that the deceased individual would have delivered;
    • Costs of hospital stays or medical treatments that the deceased individual incurred;
    • Funeral costs.