Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Oakville

Losing a family member is very distressing, particularly if your loved one passes away because of the wrongful conduct of a person or group of people.  Of course, no remedy can fully compensate for your resulting loss, but if someone else’s negligence or intentional action is responsible for the death, you may want to hold that person legally responsible. Keep in mind that a “wrongful death” claim is strictly a civil claim for compensation. It is separate and apart from a criminal case, if any, and neither proceeding has an impact on the other.

Thresholds for Establishing a Wrongful Death Claim

The threshold for establishing a wrongful death claim requires proof that the death resulted from the negligence or deliberate action of another party. It is also necessary to establish that the death caused measurable damages to the dependents. Contributory negligence or failure to mitigate does not preclude a successful claim from occurring, though it can reduce the total amount of recovery available.

How do I File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Ontario?

The ability to sue for loss due to death is not a traditional right in common law as the deceased cannot bring forth a claim. However; the Ontario Family Law Act, 1990 (the “FLA”) makes it possible for dependents to make a claim. Hence, damage compensation can be claimed directly from the wrongdoer or their insurer. A personal injury lawyer in Oakville can determine which laws apply to your case and if there is insurance applicable to cover the claim.

Who Can Bring a Claim?

Section 61(1) of the FLA, states that spouses, children, grandchildren, parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters of the deceased, can be awarded damages pursuant to a FLA claim. In Miron v. Trudel, these limitations were further broadened to include unmarried life-partners.

What Losses Can Be Recovered?

As identified under s.61(1) of the FLA, family members are entitled to recover damages if a family member has passed away as a result of the accident or succumbed to their injuries. Such damages include future loss of shared family income, future loss of family work, and future loss of wealth, such as the deceased’s inheritance or estate. Evidence from family members who lived with the individual is highly important to support the FLA claim.

Under s.62(2) of the FLA, the same family members may also make a claim for actual expenses reasonably incurred for the benefit of the person killed, actual funeral expenses reasonably incurred, and a reasonable allowance for travel expenses. Most significantly, he or she may claim non-pecuniary losses, assessed based on the “loss of guidance, care, and companionship” that the claimant might have reasonably expected to receive from the person had the death not occurred.

In determining non-pecuniary damages, the court will consider the age, mental and physical condition of the claimant, and whether or not the deceased lived with the claimant. In the cases where a deceased did not reside with the claimant, the court will consider the frequency of the visits. Additionally, the court will also consider the intimacy and quality of the claimant’s relationship with the deceased, the claimant’s emotional self-sufficiency, if the decedent’s spouse remarried, and the life expectancy of both the deceased and the claimant or the probable length of time the relationship would have lasted.

In addition to the particular nature of the family relationship involved in the claim, the total amount of damages awarded will depend on the specific facts and circumstances of the incident which caused the death. A wrongful death claim often occurs in the context of a medical malpractice action or an automobile accident, though any variety of claim types are possible including negligence in failing to enclose a swimming pool which results in a child’s death.

A wrongful death lawyer in Oakville will meet with you to understand your situation and investigate the circumstances of your claim. We will pursue fair compensation on your behalf and assist so that you don’t have to navigate the complex legal system on your own.

Wrongful Claims for Children

A wrongful death claim for children is differentiated from other wrongful death claims, as children are entitled to a relatively higher threshold of damages. In the motor vehicle accident case of Vana v Tosta, the Supreme Court of Canada determined that two children, aged 9 and 12, could recover a loss of their mother’s guidance, care and companionship.

For the other recoverable categories under the FLA, the Ontario courts have assessed damages across a wide spectrum.

Is There a Time Limit for Filing a Claim?

A wrongful death claim needs to be filed within two years of the death according to the Ontario Limitations Act, 2002.

Speak to a Wrongful Death Lawyer in Oakville at Will Davidson LLP

If a loved one has died and you suspect that the death was someone else’s fault, contact us at Will Davidson LLP so that we can review the details and circumstances surrounding the incident and assess whether we can file a wrongful death claim for you and your family. Our personal injury lawyers in Oakville are experienced in wrongful death claims and can provide a complementary, no-obligation consultation on your potential case.

Our fees are recovered only if and when the damages are recovered. Your loss may be traumatic, but you owe it to yourself and your family to find out if you are eligible for compensation. Contact us at Will Davidson LLP at 1-866-503-8757 today.

What Do I Do if I’m injured in a Hit and Run Car Accident?

Earlier this month, the media reported on a fatal hit and run accident in Scarborough which resulted in the death of a 56-year-old pedestrian. The driver was later identified in the course of the investigation and has since accepted responsibility for the accident.  Currently there are a large number of similar incidences which remain unknown to police officers as many drivers fail to report them. Instead, in an attempt to escape the situation, drivers may choose to drive away from the scene.

Over 35,000 drivers per year in Canada are estimated to have been charged with offences related to hit and run motor vehicle accidents. The number of actual hit and run accidents may be even greater, due to the fact that many drivers are never identified or charged.

Unfortunately, hit and run accidents that lead to injury or death of other drivers, passengers and pedestrians are common. Our Oakville accident lawyers want you to be prepared and understand what to do if you are injured in a hit and run motor vehicle accident.

What is a “Hit and Run Accident?”

 A hit and run accident is the result of a motor vehicle accident whereby an involved driver fails to remain at the scene.

In Ontario, under s.200(1) of the Highway Traffic Act, all drivers are required to remain at the scene or return to the scene as soon as possible, render all possible assistance, and upon request, provide injured persons or police officers with their name, address, driver’s license, insurance and permit information. Notably, in cases where there are no injuries and the total damage to the vehicles appears to be $2,000 or less, a driver may instead report their accident at a Police Reporting Centre.

Failure to report the accident can result in a penalty of between $400 and $2,000, or imprisonment for a term of up to six months. In addition, the driver’s license or permit may be suspended for up to two years depending on the severity of the accident.

Common Causes of Hit and Run Accidents in Ontario

The most common causes of motor vehicle collisions include; rear-end collisions from following too closely or stopping suddenly, side-swept accidents from unsafe lane changes, and collisions arising from unsafe left turns.

Escaping liability is not necessarily the reason why a driver may choose to flee the scene of an accident. Usually inexperienced drivers are unaware of the proper steps to take following a collision. In addition, some drivers are already wanted by the police for other crimes and as such may worry that staying at the scene will put him or her in jeopardy of being charged with other offences. These offences may include; impaired driving, driving without insurance or a license, illegal status, or driving a stolen vehicle.

What are your Obligations as an Injured Victim?

First and foremost, your obligation in any motor vehicle accident is to ensure the safety of yourself, others in your vehicle, and those at the scene of the accident. You should also take steps to seek appropriate medical care, such as contacting an ambulance if you or anyone else requires emergency medical care.

Your next priority is to report the accident to police. Once capable, you should make a reasonable effort to identify the driver involved. This includes exchanging information with the parties who remain at the scene, including other drivers or passengers involved in the accident, pedestrians or any other witnesses to the accident.

It is also important that you let your Oakville accident lawyer know as soon as possible if and when you become aware of the involvement of an unidentified driver.

Accident Benefits Compensation

As with all motor vehicle accidents in Ontario, if you become injured in an accident, regardless of fault for the accident, you are entitled to no fault accident benefits, which are often covered by your insurer.

Accident benefits are defined under the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule and they provide compensation for lost wages, medical and rehabilitation treatment and attendant care if required.  As these benefits are through your own insurer, they are not usually affected by a driver’s failure to remain at the scene of the accident

Contact a Car Accident Lawyer in Oakville at Will Davidson LLP

If you or a loved one has been injured in a motor vehicle accident, contact a trusted car accident lawyer in Oakville for advice as soon as possible. At Will Davidson LLP, we specialize in assisting injured parties obtain fair compensation after an accident. Call us today at 1-866-503-8757 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation regarding your case.


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