Filing a Wrongful Death Claim
A wrongful death claim allows family members of a person killed in an accident that another party caused to recover compensation for their financial, psychological, and emotional losses. The liable party is often an individual, but sometimes may be a company or even government entity. A successful claim requires:
- Identifying liable parties
- Identifying beneficiaries
- Estimating claim value
- Compiling evidence of fault and claim value
- Negotiating a settlement
Types of Accidents
Almost any accident or incident where someone died as the result of another person’s negligence or intentional malice may present grounds for a wrongful death claim. This includes:
- Car accidents
- Slips and falls
- Dog bites
It is important to note that a wrongful death claim is a civil proceeding, and does not have the same standard of proof as a criminal proceeding. This means a person may win compensation in a wrongful death claim even if the defendant did not face criminal charges or was not convicted.
Ontario’s Family Law Act outlines who is eligible to collect damages in the event of a wrongful death claim. Most commonly, the surviving spouse and/or the surviving children are beneficiaries of wrongful death claims when the person killed is an adult. Parents may be entitled to recover damages after the wrongful death of a child.
Other parties listed under the Act as potential beneficiaries in a wrongful death claim are:
The best way to determine the full value of your case is to discuss it with an experienced lawyer. Many people overlook expenses and losses they may be able to recover. Some of the most common types of damages recoverable in an Ontario wrongful death claim include:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Other injury- and death-related out-of-pocket expenses
- Loss of income due to the death
- Loss of household services due to the death
- Loss of companionship, guidance, and other psychological losses
Proving a Claim
The burden of proof in a wrongful death claim is the same as a personal injury claim. A person must show that, on the balance of probabilities, the liable party acted negligently and caused the fatal accident. A wrongful death claim must establish that the defendant:
- Owed the decedent a duty of care
- Acted negligently or recklessly
- Caused the decedent’s accident and fatal injuries
A wrongful death claim must also prove the value of the beneficiaries’ damages. A lawyer can help their client collect the evidence necessary to build a strong case that proves negligence, accurately values damages, and demonstrates the defendant’s intentional malice if applicable.
Contacting a Lawyer
If you lost a family member due to the careless or malicious actions of another, our Toronto wrongful death lawyers may be able to help. Contact Preszler Injury Lawyers by calling 1-800-JUSTICE and receive a free initial consultation.