When car accidents result in death, families are left to pick up the pieces. Instead of pursuing a personal injury claim, the spouse, parents, siblings, or children of the deceased may pursue a wrongful death claim.
In Alberta, wrongful death cases are covered by the Fatal Accidents Act. This act only allows for one claim which must be split between all eligible parties. Some members of the will be eligible for bereavement claims. Others will only be eligible for reimbursements of expenses they might have incurred while managing the death.
What does wrongful death mean?
A wrongful death is any preventable death that was caused by someone else’s negligence.
In a car accident case, the defendant driver probably did not intend to kill your loved one. Yet they did something negligent to cause the accident. For example, they may have driven while distracted, may have been speeding, or may have ignored a traffic law.
Wrongful death claims hold them accountable for the expenses you incur when you lose a loved one. This may include hospital bills incurred before your loved one died and funeral expenses. If your loved one provided an income or household services this would also include compensation for those lost resources.
Finally there are bereavement claims, which are essentially the wrongful death claim equivalent of a pain and suffering award. Each living child may claim $49,000. Parents can claim $82,000, total, to either be divided between them or awarded in whole to the deceased’s living parent.
How hard is it to prove wrongful death?
Proving wrongful death is similar to proving any personal injury case. You have to show that the other person had a duty of care to the deceased and they failed in that duty of care. You then have to show that failure directly resulted in the death of your loved one.
This is fairly easy in car and motorcycle accident cases, as each driver has a duty of care to try to prevent accidents with the other drivers on the road.
What happens in a wrongful death lawsuit?
A lawful death lawsuit begins when your lawyer files a claim on your behalf. There will then be a period of discovery, where both parties are trying to gather the major facts of the case.
From there, our lawyers and the defendant’s lawyers would generally meet in a settlement conference to try to hammer out a settlement out of court. You can agree to a settlement at any time before a verdict is reached. Very few cases go all the way to trial.
Why Merchant Law?
When you work with a lawyer from Merchant Law you’re working with one of the most experienced lawyers in the Calgary area. Our team has been fighting for people like you for many decades. We know what it takes to create a successful settlement and we know what it takes to win.
To get started, call (403) 225-7777. We answer our phones 24/7/365 to make sure you get the help you need quickly. Your initial consultation is free, and you don’t have to worry about legal fees at all if we’re not successful.