Coffin at a grave site funeral with people around following a wrongful death

Wrongful Death

An unexpected death as a result of someone’s negligent actions or inaction is referred to as wrongful death.

Losing a loved one is one of the most devastating events you can experience. The grief can make it difficult to focus on everyday tasks; however, when trauma is associated with the loss the pain is often amplified. 

If you believe the death was preventable, you can seek legal action to get justice for your loved one. You may have depended on your loved one for financial support, emotional support, and may have run a household with them. You can recover damages for this loss of support.

Depending on the circumstances surrounding your loved one’s passing, proving they were fatally injured as a result of negligence can be difficult. Many of these claims are complex and multifaceted. In order to build the strongest case possible, you’ll need to be backed by experienced legal representation.

What Is Fatal Accident Legislation?  

Every province in Canada has fatal accident legislation. In British Columbia, the Family Compensation Act covers wrongful death. The laws allow family members to pursue action on behalf of a deceased loved one when the death was caused by the intentional or negligent actions of another.

If the wrongful or neglectful actions or inactions would have allowed the deceased person to maintain an action and recover damages if they had survived, the family can take action. The action must benefit the spouse, parent, or child of the decedent, and it must be brought by and in the name of the personal representative of the deceased. It’s crucial to know that only one action may be 

Wrongful death can occur when people act negligently in nearly any setting. This includes people working at a business or individuals going about their everyday lives.

Common causes of wrongful death are:

  • Motor Vehicle Accidents. Motor Vehicle accidents, truck accidents, and motorcycle accidents can end someone’s life prematurely. In 2017 alone, 276 individuals were fatally injured in automotive accidents in British Columbia. It’s likely that a majority of those accidents could have been prevented.
  • Bicycle and Pedestrian Accidents. When cyclists or pedestrians are involved in an accident, they have little to no protection, which could lead to possibly fatal injuries. Many of these accidents result from negligent drivers who are disobeying laws or inadequately sharing the road with others.
  • Workplace Accidents. When workplaces aren’t kept safe, like construction sites, it puts everyone working there at risk. Employers are supposed to ensure that safety procedures are in place and followed.
  • Product Liability. Manufacturers are supposed to ensure their products are safe for consumers. Unsafe products could range from children’s toys to medical devices. Someone depending on a product or merely using it could potentially lose their life when the product is manufactured with dangerous materials or have a design flaw that could cause electrical issues or for them to stop working entirely.
  • Negligent Supervision. There are individuals in certain situations, like children in daycares and elders in senior living institutions, who should be monitored regularly. When at-risk people are attended to improperly, there’s a chance an accident could occur. If an elderly individual slips and falls, they could sustain a serious brain injury.
  • Premises Liability. Property owners are required to ensure their property, whether private or public, is safe to occupy. In the event a hazard like a broken step or torn carpet results in a deadly accident, the owner may be able to be held accountable depending on the circumstances.

No matter the situation, our Vancouver wrongful death lawyer is ready to step in and investigate your claim. We’ll find the cause of your loved one’s death and determine who is at fault.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?

Wrongful death law in British Columbia has strict rules that those filing a claim should be aware of. The law states in the Family Compensation Act who can file a wrongful death claim. Acceptable claimants are the deceased’s children (including stepchildren), parents, the spouse, and grandparents who are assuming parental duties.

Compensation can cover loss of financial support of the deceased’s income, love, guidance and affection, inheritance, services of the deceased for the family, tax gross-up, management fees, and limited expenses from the result of the death, like funeral and burial expenses, and medical or hospital expenses which could have been recoverable as damages if the death has not occurred.

Complicated calculations determine your compensation. In delicate situations like a wrongful death claim settlement, having a wrongful death lawyer at your side will ensure that someone is looking out for your best interests and that you won’t be offered less than what you’re owed.

How Can Wishart Brain & Spine Law Help You?

There isn’t a guarantee that the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) will give you a favorable settlement. They may want to settle the matter early, meaning you might not get full compensation. A Vancouver wrongful death lawyer at Wishart Brain & Spine Law won’t rush the process. They will do everything they can to help you get justice for your loved one and   the compensation you deserve.

A skilled legal team can help you build a claim that shows how your loved one’s life could have been saved if negligence hadn’t occurred. An independent investigation will need to be conducted, so evidence can be collected. Then, interviewing bystanders and witnesses and obtaining expert witnesses can strengthen the case.

A medical expert can evaluate your loved one’s injuries in relation to how they died—which will show the correlation to the accident and their injuries. We can also have an accident reconstructionist examine the scene and rebuild it in a way that presents what happened and why. Reconstructionist analysts are trained to identify even the smallest details of an accident to exemplify what happened from beginning to end.

Once experts have helped strengthen your case, your lawyer can show that the negligent party owed your loved one a duty. This means that they should have been acting in a manner that would not potentially harm someone else. By breaching their duty, you loved one was harmed. Finally, the connection between your loss and the damages can be calculated.

We understand that your claim won’t bring your loved one back or undo any of the pain that the loss caused you. But knowing that you won’t have to worry about handling expenses without your loved one because your settlement will provide financial support could provide some small comfort to you and your family.

In holding the party responsible for their actions, you may inspire change with your claim. This change could be about better safety measures or implementing safer behaviors that are put in place to ensure a wrongful death doesn’t happen again, meaning you could prevent another family from experiencing a tragic loss.

Get in touch with us today and you’ll speak with a lawyer about your case and plan your best course of action.