Guide to Ontario Wrongful Death Claims | Diamond & Diamond Lawers

A Guide to Understanding Ontario Wrongful Death Claims

The loss of a family member or loved one is a painful and emotionally devastating event. The emotional pain is often accompanied by financial hardship when the deceased contributed financially to the support of the family. In most instances, losing a loved one does not result in family members having the right to seek compensation for their loss, but when the death is caused by the reckless or careless conduct of another party, the Ontario Family Law Act might offer surviving family members a right to file a wrongful death claim for compensation.

The right to file a wrongful death claim in Ontario

The Family Law Act designates only certain family members as being entitled to file a wrongful death claim. Included among those entitled to sue are the following relatives of the deceased:

  • Spouse
  • Children
  • Parents
  • Grandparents
  • Grandchildren
  • Brothers and sisters

The party against whom a wrongful death claim may be filed is any person or entity against who the deceased would have been entitled to recover compensation if he or she was not killed. In essence, the designated dependents of the victim are entitled to recover for the losses the victim would have sued for had he or she survived the wrongful conduct.

Damages recoverable by the victim’s dependents

Among the damages family members are entitled to claim in a wrongful death lawsuit are the following:

  • Expenses actually incurred on behalf of the victim
  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Travel expenses incurred by family members visiting the victim in cases in which death occurred following period of treatment or recovery
  • Nursing, housekeeping or other services a person provided during the time between the accident and the victim’s death
  • Damages attributable to the loss of companionship, care and guidance the family member will not receive because of the death of the victim

Computing damages can be difficult in wrongful death cases. For example, the spouse and minor children who were dependent upon the income earned by the deceased for their support might be entitled to recover based upon the number of years of earnings lost through the death. Older children might not receive as much in the way of compensation because of the reduced number of years of dependency that can be proven in court.

The emotional distress suffered by family members over the loss of their loved one is not recoverable in a wrongful death lawsuit. Family members who incurred expenses for counseling or therapy to overcome their emotional distress might be entitled to recover those expenses as being attributable to the loss of companionship and guidance of the deceased.

If you’re filing a wrongful death claim, Diamond & Diamond can help you.

Delays can result in the loss of the right to sue for wrongful death

statute of limitations is a time limit the law imposes on filing a wrongful death lawsuit. The statute of limitations in a wrongful death case in Ontario is two years from the date of death. A lawyer should be consulted about the application of the statute of limitations in a particular case.

Types of cases giving rise to wrongful death claims

Any case in which a death is caused by the careless or reckless conduct of another party can result in a claim for damages. Wrongful death cases frequently involve medical malpractice, car accidents, motorcycle accidents and other cases in which negligence has occurred.

Getting help with an Ontario wrongful death claim

The personal injury lawyers at Diamond and Diamond are there to help when a loved one is lost through the negligent conduct of others. They have experience obtaining compensation for the families of wrongful death victims. Contact our 24/7 injury hotline at 1-800-567-HURT or visit our website to speak with a wrongful death attorney about your claim. Consultations are free, and we have offices located throughout Ontario.

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