Vernon Wrongful Death Lawyer
If your loved one has recently passed away, due to the negligence of another party, it is worth speaking with a personal injury law firm to learn more about wrongful death lawsuits and causes of action that can be filed to help you stay afloat financially. Coping with grief is difficult enough without compounding it with financial pressure. In some circumstances, you may be entitled to seek financial compensation. Our Preszler team of Vernon wrongful death lawyers offers free consultations.
What Causes A ‘Wrongful Death’?
In British Columbia, the Family Compensation Act defines a “wrongful death” as one where:
- The death is caused by a wrongful act, neglect, or default.
- If death had not occurred, the injured party could have filed a legal action and recovered damages.
- It has been two years or less since the death or the circumstances of the death became known.
Despite the death, the person, partnership, or corporation is still held liable for the offence.
Most commonly, wrongful death actions are pursued following motor vehicle accidents (through ICBC), hospital deaths, slip-and-fall accidents, dog attacks, construction site collapses, boating accidents, fatal workplace incidents, police brutality, nightclub violence, consumer product mishaps, medical device failure, or prescription drug-related illnesses.
How to File A Wrongful Death Lawsuit in B.C.
A personal injury lawyer can help you initiate a legal claim for wrongful death if you are a rightful representative. The idea is that you are replacing the income and services that the decedent would have provided had they survived.
The most common representative is a spouse or common-law partner (someone who has lived with the deceased for at least two years, no more than one year ago). Child dependents — whether biological, step or foster children — can also receive benefits for their losses. Parents, stepparents, and grandparents may be able to file for the loss of a child, though the compensation is significantly decreased. If there is no familial heir to collect damages, a personal representative of the estate may also bring an action to punish wrongdoing.
When multiple claimants exist, they must all file together, as separate actions cannot be pursued later. Those opting out of compensation must do so with the understanding that they are giving up their right to seek financial reparations. The courts will determine the proportion by which each eligible party collects from the total settlement or jury award.
Damages for wrongful deaths may include:
- Lost income and loss of future income
- Pain and suffering, loss of companionship, loss of guidance
- Cost of medical care for the decedent
- Cost of services for nursing care, domestic care, or childcare
- Funeral and burial expenses
If you’re looking for experienced lawyers, our wrongful death law firm with an office in Kelowna, can offer access to a full investigative team, expert witnesses, economists, family therapists, and more. We work on a contingency basis, so you pay nothing upfront and nothing at all if we do not recover financial compensation for your family.