What can you do legally when a loved one is killed by someone’s negligence?

The emotional trauma is unbearable when one loses a family member due to negligence of others. Such a tragedy could be a result of a car accident injuries or an accident claim on a poorly maintained property. But issues that arise consequent to the death of a loved one are not constrained only to the emotional class. The financial difficulties faced by survivors of a deceased are also not trivial. 

sad children hugging his mother

While acknowledging that no financial compensation can heal this vacuum in your life, people still have the option to pursue a civil injury claim for damages against negligent parties to minimize the financial set-back when a loved one is lost. This almost always involves a claim against an insurance company. We know that this is not a good time for you to try to fight alone. As such, our personal injury lawyers represent and assist the survivors in civil actions against those whose negligent actions cause the wrongful death of an innocent family member.  Our firm invests its own money and time to secure monetary compensation for the survivors while they try to focus on dealing with their grief.

The limitation period to file a civil suit in most Canadian jurisdictions is 2 years from the date of the deceased’s death. Generally, damages available to the survivors in a fatal injuries claim fall under the following categories:

1. Damages for medical expenses, lost wages, funeral and burial expenses, and pain and suffering experienced by the deceased from the moment of the negligent act that caused death until the actual time of the loss.

2. Damages for compensating the survivors for:

  • Loss of guidance, care and companionship.
  • Loss of financial support for money that the deceased would have contributed to the survivors;
  • Loss of care for elderly parents where the deceased is a young person;

3. Punitive or aggravated damages may also be awarded where the defendant engaged in a reckless or egregious conduct that led to a person’s death but this is an area of legal controversy.

A claim for fatal injury damages can be initiated by a family member (typically a spouse, children and parents), or through a personal administrator for the estate of the deceased. In the past, we have also helped our clients file wrongful death cases to help modify people’s behaviour for making things safer. For example, our firm represented several families who lost loved ones due to dilapidated bridges or lack of guardrails in Nova Scotia. These claims led the Province to order a complete investigation and upgrade of other bridges and secondary roads in Nova Scotia. The decision by these families to pursue a civil claim likely prevented any other accidents and saved lives.

We can also help in matters related to CPP, accidental death benefits and life insurance benefits where the deceased’s insurance company is denying your claim for compensation as a beneficiary.

If you are experiencing a similar legal problem please do not hesitate to contact our legal team. As always, our lawyers here at MacGillivray Injury and Insurance Law Firm are ready, willing and qualified to assist you in your legal representation.

Media Articles on Past Cases

Family, Province Reach Deal in Fatal Crash (CBC, July 12, 2007)

Railing improperly installed at bridge where mother, son died (CBC, February 7, 2007)

Legislation in Atlantic Canada

Fatal Injuries Act (Nova Scotia)

The Fatal Accidents Act (PEI)

Fatal Accidents Act (NB)

Fatal Accidents Act (NL)