The death of a loved one, such as a spouse or child, is a devastating event for any family. Unfortunately, financial issues may further complicate the pain of loss, such as when the deceased was the primary household earner or in the event of substantial funeral and burial costs.
Financial recovery may be possible in cases involving a wrongful death. This includes instances where another person’s actions or negligence directly contributed to an accident in which your family member or spouse suffered a fatal injury.
Below are the first five steps you should consider when you have lost someone you love because of another person’s actions.
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Step One: Use Caution When Talking About the Accident
A potential defendant and his or her representatives, such as a lawyer or insurance adjuster, may contact you or your family members to discuss the wrongful death accident.
Be very careful what you say when talking to an insurance adjuster or potential defendant. Do not disclose any details about damages or potential liability. Refer these conversations to your own lawyer.
Step Two: Consider All Available Financial Resources
You may have a number of avenues for financial recovery. The two primary sources of compensation include:
- Ontario’s statutory Accident Benefits (in the event of an automobile-related death) – Benefits include lump-sum payments for the survivors of those killed in a motor vehicle collision. These death and funeral benefits are intended to offset funeral and burial costs, as well as other financial damages.
- Wrongful death lawsuit – A wrongful death tort action may be appropriate in the event of a car crash, slip and fall, or other accident for which someone else is liable for the injuries.
Accident Benefits are available, regardless of fault. A civil tort action depends on someone else having caused the fatal accident.
Step Three: Preserve Evidence of the Wrongful Death
Maintain any documents or physical evidence that may be necessary as you pursue compensation.
This may include:
- photos of the accident scene;
- witness statements;
- medical records;
- financial records;
- employment records;
- educational records; and
Such evidence is crucial when proving negligence, liability and damages.
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Step Four: Determine if you Qualify for a Wrongful Death Action
The law limits who can file a wrongful death action. Generally, claimants may include:
- siblings; and
A lawyer can help determine if you qualify to file a wrongful death claim in the wake of a loved one’s death.
Step Five: Secure Help from a Wrongful Death Lawyer
A wrongful death lawyer can assist you as you pursue compensation in a wrongful death suit and/or through Accident Benefits. This includes gathering evidence of negligence and submitting documentation within the specified time limits.
A lawyer is in a better position to protect your rights if he or she is there for you at the outset of your case. Many lawyers offer a free case consultation to family members who have lost a loved one due to negligence. Use this meeting as an opportunity to learn more about your rights and whether a particular law firm is the right fit for your case.
To set up a consultation with the Preszler Law Firm, call us today at 1-800-JUSTICE® or visit our contact page