Who Can Make a Wrongful Death Claim?

In British Columbia, a wrongful death claim can be brought by a bereaved spouse, child or parent. The definition of each category is relatively broad, and can sometimes include common-law partners, step-children, step-parents and grandparents.

Who can make a wrongful death claim in BC?

When someone dies due to a wrongful act, neglect or default, their remaining family members may be entitled to pursue a claim for damages. This is known as a wrongful death claim. In British Columbia, wrongful death claims can only be made by:

  • Spouses
  • Children
  • Parents


A spouse is defined as someone who was married to the deceased at the time of their death. It can also be someone who was living with the deceased in a marriage-like relationship for a period of at least two years.


A child of the deceased is defined as a biological child, a step-child, or any person who viewed the deceased as their parent.


A parent of the deceased is defined as anyone who played the role of parent during the deceased’s life. This includes biological parents, grandparents and step-parents. More specifically, a step-parent is defined as a person who lives with the parent of a child as their spouse for a period of not less than two years, and who contributes to the support of the child for not less than one year.

Can you make a wrongful death claim?

If your loved one has recently passed away due to a tragic accident, then we can only imagine the pain and grief you are experiencing. Legal action might not be at the forefront of your mind right now. But if you do want to seek justice, then we are here to help you. We can clarify whether you are entitled to make a wrongful death claim. If so, we can manage the entire process on your behalf. You only have two years to bring a claim, so we recommend that you contact us as soon as you are able.

Can more than one person make a claim?

You can only bring one wrongful death claim, but there can be more than one Plaintiff. For example, it could be that the deceased left a spouse and two children behind. In this scenario, all three individuals would be eligible to compensation. A lawyer would represent all the Plaintiffs and the damages would be divided among the parties in shares, as directed by the court.

Speak to our Vancouver personal injury lawyers

If your loved one has recently died in an accident, please contact us for expert legal advice. Wrongful death claims are most common following fatal car accidents and medical malpractice. Such claims may also arise due to defective products, care home negligence, unsafe premises and criminal behaviour, to name but a few examples.

Whatever the circumstances, we offer practical legal advice delivered by a team of friendly lawyers. We can talk to you about a wrongful death claim in more detail, helping you understand whether you have grounds to take legal action against those at fault.

Either fill in the free online enquiry form or call us on 604 684 0040.

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