What is the British Columbia Family Compensation Act?
When there is a wrongful death, the family members of the deceased are entitled to make a claim under the British Columbia Family Compensation Act. This ensures they are put back in the financial position they would have been in, had it not been for the accident.
Wrongful death claims
When someone dies as a result of another person’s negligence (or an organisation’s negligence), there will be grounds for a wrongful death claim. These claims are tragic, but sadly they do happen. Examples include pedestrians who are killed at crossroads because a vehicle did not stop, and construction workers who are fatally injured because their employer did not make the site reasonably safe.
Ordinarily, anyone who is injured through no fault of their own is entitled to pursue a personal injury claim. If the injured person has died, this right passes to their loved ones. These are known as wrongful death claims. In British Columbia, wrongful death claims are governed by Family Compensation Act. The law sets out rules as to who can claim and what you can claim for.
Who can make a claim?
The following people are able to pursue a claim under the British Columbia Family Compensation Act –
- The deceased’s spouse, which may include a common-law spouse
- Children of the deceased, which may include step-children
- Parents of the deceased, which may include step-parents
- Grandparents of the deceased, if they played the role of parents during the deceased’s life
More than one person may be entitled to compensation. For instance, if someone is survived by their spouse and children, each may be eligible to receive redress. Even so, the Family Compensation Act states that only one claim can be made. Therefore, a personal representative must bring a claim on behalf of all the claimants. This must be brought within two years of the accident.
What can you claim for?
A wrongful death claim aims to prevent any financial hardship that might arise because of the fatality. Unlike other provinces in Canada, British Columbia does not offer bereavement damages, which compensates for things such as grief and loss of companionship. This may change in the future. Currently, compensation can only be awarded for the loss of –
- Financial support – for those who were reliant on the deceased’s income
- Services – which the deceased used to perform, like DIY and gardening
- Love, guidance and training – although usually this can only be claimed by children
- Inheritance – which may have been greater, had the deceased not passed away
- Out of pocket expenses – such as funeral expenses
Calculating these losses is a complex task. So, if you are making a wrongful death claim, you need to have a personal injury lawyer with the necessary experience.
Vancouver personal injury lawyer
At John Mickelson Law Corporation, we understand how traumatic it is to lose a loved one in an accident. We can help you access justice, handling all the legalities on your behalf. Although a claim can never turn back the clock, it can ensure that you do not face financial hardship in the future.