The experience of losing a child is a devastating and emotionally shattering event that no parent should ever have to endure. The psychological and emotional turmoil that follows is an agonizing journey through the darkest realms of grief and sorrow. A parent’s heart is left with an unfillable void, as the crushing weight of guilt, anger, and regret suffocates them. The suddenness of such a tragic loss intensifies the anguish, as the mind struggles to comprehend the abrupt end of a young life that held so much promise. Parents are haunted by the unrelenting question of “why?” and are left to grapple with the haunting images of their child’s last moments. Our child wrongful death lawyers know that for parents who navigate through this emotional minefield – every milestone, memory, and dream once shared with their child becomes a relentless reminder of the irrevocable loss, making it a brutal and life-altering experience that forever changes the landscape of their hearts.
No matter if you child was killed while walking, on a bicycle, getting in or out or a car or school bus – the agonizing pain of losing a child in an accident due to another’s carelessness is a tormenting burden to bear, as it mercilessly intertwines profound grief with a seething sense of injustice.
If you have lost a child in any type of accident call us to get the advice you need. We have represented countless families who have lost children all over Ontario in accident since 2003. We would be more than happy to sit with you and your family for as long as you need or answer any questions you may have. Call us today at 1-844-LALANDE or local in the Hamilton area at 905-333-8888 to speak with our child wrongful death lawyers today. You can also email us confidentially through our website and one of our intake specialists will be happy to set up an appointment by way of zoom or in-person.
The brutal grief of losing a child in a wrongful death accident is an indescribable pain that pierces the heart of any parent. In the aftermath of such a tragedy, the world turns to an unbearable shade of gray, where every breath feels like a struggle to survive. As the initial shock begins to wear off, the reality of the loss sets in, leaving parents grappling with an excruciating sorrow that will become a lifelong companion. The journey to recovery is arduous and fraught with seemingly insurmountable challenges. A parent’s once vibrant life is forever altered by the void left behind, as they learn to navigate a new existence without their beloved child. Every milestone, every memory, will be tinged with the bittersweet reminder of what could have been, and the heartache that now defines their lives.
Our Ontario Wrongful Death Lawyers understand that families who have lost a child are going through a critically difficult and emotional time. We strive to work with families in a way that is respectful and compassionate, while still pursuing justice for our clients. One way our pediatric wrongful death lawyers accomplish this is by communicating with families in a clear and sensitive manner, and establish boundaries and schedules for meetings and updates, ensuring that their work does not interfere with our client’s grieving process. Additionally, our child wrongful death lawyers may collaborate with grief counselors or other professionals to help fund and provide families with the support they need during this challenging time. We pride ourselves buy approaching our work with empathy and understanding, we work to achieve justice for our clients while also respecting the needs and emotions of grieving families.
Yes – we understand that the last thing your family needs after the loss of a child is the stress of a legal bill. Our wrongful death lawyers offer free initial consultations to discuss the details of a potential case and provide preliminary legal advice in regard to your wrongful death case. The consultation not only allows us to evaluate the merits of your family’s case , but it also gives you the opportunity to assess the our expertise as Ontario wrongful death lawyers who represent families who have lost children due to the negligence, recklessness and carelessness of other.
Car Accidents and Children
Car accidents are an unfortunate reality of modern life, resulting in thousands of fatalities every year. Among these tragic incidents, child fatalities stand out as particularly heart-wrenching. Children, as passengers in a vehicle, are often more vulnerable to injury and death due to their smaller size and relative lack of physical strength. This vulnerability underscores the importance of implementing safety measures like car seats, booster seats, and seat belts to protect young passengers. Despite the availability of these safety tools, however, many children continue to be fatally injured in car accidents each year.
One of the leading causes of car accidents involving child fatalities is careless driving. Careless drivers may be speeding or failing to yield the right of way, putting themselves and others at risk. When a child is involved in a car accident caused by a careless driver, the result can be especially devastating. The sheer force of a high-speed collision can cause significant injuries or even death to a child, regardless of the safety precautions taken.
Another contributing factor to car accidents involving children is distracted driving. The proliferation of smartphones and other electronic devices has led to an increase in drivers who are not fully focused on the road. Texting while driving, for example, can divert a driver’s attention long enough to cause a catastrophic and/or accident. When a child is in the car, the consequences of distracted driving become even more severe. Just a moment’s inattention can lead to a lifetime of regret for the driver and an immeasurable loss for the child’s family.
The psychological consequences of losing a child in a car accident are both profound and long-lasting. Parents who have experienced such a tragedy often suffer from intense feelings of guilt, grief, and anger. They may question their actions or those of the driver responsible for the accident, wondering if there was anything they could have done differently to prevent their child’s death. The emotional toll of losing a child can strain relationships within the family and lead to depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues.
In addition to the emotional pain that parents and family members experience, the loss of a child in a car accident can have far-reaching effects on a community. Friends, teachers, and neighbors may also grapple with the senselessness of the tragedy and struggle to support the grieving family.
Wrongful death cases involving children as pedestrians are particularly distressing, as they underscore the vulnerability of young lives in the face of negligent behavior. Children, often too young to fully understand the dangers of the world around them, rely on adults to protect them and ensure their safety. In situations where children are walking, running, playing, or getting in and out of a car, their limited awareness of potential hazards can lead to tragic outcomes.
Child fatalities involving pedestrians often occur when kids are playing near roads or crossing streets without adult supervision. Children, by nature, are impulsive and may not always be mindful of their surroundings. Their small size and limited understanding of traffic rules make them less visible and more susceptible to accidents. For instance, a child might suddenly dart out into the street while chasing a ball, leaving drivers little time to react. These situations can lead to heartbreaking accidents and the devastating loss of young lives.
Another common scenario that contributes to child fatalities as pedestrians is the act of getting in and out of a car. In busy parking lots, schools or along crowded streets, drivers may not notice a child opening a car door or stepping out from between parked vehicles. These incidents can be particularly tragic, as parents and guardians may be just a few steps away, unable to prevent the accident from occurring.
Children, being too young to look out for their own safety, depend on adults to guide and protect them. It is crucial for parents and guardians to educate their children on pedestrian safety from a young age, teaching them to always hold an adult’s hand when crossing the street, to look both ways before stepping onto a road, and to be aware of their surroundings. Communities can also play a role in reducing child fatalities by implementing traffic calming measures, creating safe play spaces away from busy roads, and advocating for pedestrian-friendly infrastructure.
In cases of wrongful death involving children as pedestrians, families are left grappling with the devastating consequences of losing a child. The grief and pain they experience are immense, and they may seek legal recourse against the negligent party responsible for their child’s death. While no amount of compensation can bring back a lost child, pursuing a wrongful death claim can provide a sense of justice and closure for the grieving family.
Children on Bikes
Canadian bicycle death statistics reveal a concerning trend in child fatalities. While the overall number of cycling deaths in the country has been relatively stable, the proportion of child fatalities has remained significant. According to a study conducted by the Canadian Medical Association Journal, between 2006 and 2020, approximately 25% of cycling deaths involved children aged 19 or younger. This alarming statistic highlights the need for targeted interventions to protect young cyclists on Canadian roads.
There are several factors that contribute to the high rate of child fatalities on bicycles. One major factor is that children often lack the experience and judgment necessary to navigate busy streets safely. Their smaller size also makes them less visible to drivers, increasing the risk of accidents.
One of the most common ways children are fatally injured while riding bicycles is due to severe head injuries or being run-over by motor vehicles. Often, these tragic accidents occur even when a child is wearing a helmet. In addition, a lack of visibility, improper adherence to traffic rules, or the child riding in an unsafe area can contribute to these life-threatening situations. It is crucial for parents, caregivers, and communities to emphasize the importance of bicycle safety, including the use of helmets and reflective gear, as well as teaching children the importance of following traffic rules, in order to prevent such devastating accidents.
Distracted drivers also play a significant role in child fatalities on bicycles. As previously discussed, the rise of smartphones and other electronic devices has led to an increase in drivers who are not fully focused on the road. When a driver is distracted, they may not notice a young cyclist entering an intersection or riding along the shoulder of the road. In these cases, the consequences can be devastating, as children on bicycles are particularly vulnerable to injury or death due to the lack of protection a bicycle offers.
Drowning is a one of the leading cause of accidental death among young children, with those under the age of four being particularly vulnerable. Negligent caregiver supervision often plays a significant role in many of these tragic incidents, as children may not possess the necessary skills or judgment to avoid danger around water.
Supervision is crucial when children are near any body of water as young children can drown in a matter of seconds and in as little as an inch of water, making continuous and attentive adult supervision essential. In our experience, we have litigated cases involving:
Children and Falls out of Windows, Balconies, or other Elevated Areas
Falls are a significant cause of fatalities among children, with negligent supervision and windows/balconies which are in a state of disrepair often playing a critical role. Negligent supervision in this context may involve:
In Ontario, the Family Law Act governs wrongful death claims for a child. Several individuals closely related to the deceased child can initiate a wrongful death claim, depending on their connection to the child and the circumstances surrounding the death.
The common entities who may commence a wrongful death claim include:
These family members may pursue compensation for both economic and non-economic damages resulting from the child’s death. Economic damages typically cover expenses like medical bills and funeral costs, while non-economic damages encompass the emotional suffering and pain caused by the loss. Ultimately, seeking justice and compensation for the wrongful death of a child is essential for healing the emotional wounds of family members, making it crucial to identify who can rightfully initiate such a claim in the province of Ontario.
Day care deaths are unacceptable. The tragic child day care deaths that have occurred in Canada, particularly within unlicensed facilities, have been largely due to factors such as overcrowding, insufficient supervision, and unsanitary or unsafe conditions. These facilities, functioning outside of the bounds of regulatory oversight, often become hotbeds for a range of potentially fatal incidents.
Overcrowding is a persistent issue in many of these unlicensed day care centres, leading to a dangerously high child-to-carer ratio. When a single individual is responsible for more children than they can adequately monitor, the risk of fatal incidents increases dramatically. Children, especially the younger ones, can be prone to accidents due to their natural curiosity and lack of understanding of potential dangers. In an overcrowded setting, a child may choke on a small object, stumble and suffer a fatal fall, or encounter other hazards before an overwhelmed carer can intervene.
Lack of supervision is another significant issue. Instances of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), accidental suffocation, or unattended medical emergencies can all tragically lead to the death of a child. For instance, a caregiver might leave infants unsupervised while they attend to other children, failing to notice when a baby has rolled over and is facing the danger of suffocation.
Statistics from the Canadian Child Care Federation underscore the severity of this issue. While unlicensed day care centers make up roughly 20% of all child care in Canada, they are responsible for a startling 60% of child care-related fatalities. This statistical disparity raises a red flag on the need for more stringent regulation and oversight of unlicensed day care centers.
The Family Law Act enables parents, grandparents, children, and spouses (including common-law spouses) to file a claim for the loss of care, guidance, and companionship they expected to receive from the deceased. In addition to non-economic damages, claimants can also seek compensation for financial losses, such as funeral expenses and the deceased’s potential future support.
In Ontario, the loss of care, guidance, and companionship is a type of non-economic damage that can be claimed by certain family members in wrongful death cases. Under the Family Law Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. F.3, these damages are referred to as “loss of guidance, care, and companionship” and are awarded to compensate the family members for the emotional suffering and loss of support they experience as a result of the wrongful death of their loved one.
In a wrongful death claim in Ontario, the family members who are eligible to seek compensation for the loss of care, guidance, and companionship include the spouse, children, grandchildren, parents, grandparents, and siblings of the deceased person. The amount awarded for this type of damage is meant to compensate for the intangible, emotional aspects of the loss, and it is separate from any financial or pecuniary losses that the family members may have suffered as a result of the wrongful death.
When determining the appropriate compensation for the loss of care, guidance, and companionship, the court will consider various factors, such as the age, relationship, and degree of dependency between the deceased person and the family members making the claim. The court will also consider the nature of the relationship and the extent to which the deceased person provided care, guidance, and companionship to the family members.
It is important to note that other than in exceptional circumstances, our law does not compensate plaintiffs for grief, sorrow or mental anguish suffered as result of their child’s death, nor is there any inference that this process somehow places a value on a child’s life.
What is the upper range of compensation for the loss of care, guidance and companionship?
In 2010 there was a case involving young Amanda Fiddler, age 14 with special needs, including ADHD. Amanda died in a motor vehicle accident and the defence strategy was to minimize the plaintiffs’ damages by emphasizing Amanda’s behavioural issues and likely poor prospects for any meaningful contribution to the family in the form of care, guidance and companionship, the parents’ drug and alcohol abuse, that they were variously lazy, deceitful and together they formed a dysfunctional family. The jury’s response was to award the mother damages for the loss of care guidance and companionship from Amanda’s death in the amount of $200,000, which was nearly double the upper juridical limit at the time. The Court of Appeal accepted that the appropriate range of damages for the mother’s loss in the circumstances of that case was between $40,000 and $125,000 and reduced the damage award accordingly. The Court was unwilling to tamper with the jury’s conclusion that in all the circumstances the mother’s entitlement properly assessed at the highest range for appropriate damages.
The Court noted that “Each case will be given separate consideration to measure the immeasurable and incalculable. Each case is to be considered in light of the evidence and circumstances in light of the particular family relationships in the case.”
The Court offered a method by which an amount that reflected the range of damages for guidance care and companionship in past years could be adjusted for a current value. In January 2005, the month of Amanda Fiddler’s death, the CPI was 105.3. In June 2019, the CPI was 136.5. That suggests that the high end of the damage range for loss of care, guidance and companionship for a mother in June 2019 was $163,750.
Economic (Pecuniary) Damages
Pursuant to Section 61 of the Ontario Family Law Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. F.3, pecuniary losses refer to the financial losses suffered by the family members of a deceased person as a result of a wrongful death caused by another party’s negligence or wrongful act.
Pecuniary losses are distinct from non-pecuniary losses, such as the loss of care, guidance, and companionship, which seek to compensate for the emotional and intangible aspects of the loss. In a wrongful death claim, the eligible family members may seek compensation for both types of damages to address the various impacts of their loved one’s death.
Pecuniary losses in a wrongful death claim typically include funeral and burial expenses, as well as any medical expenses incurred by the deceased person prior to their death. These expenses are generally easy to quantify and are supported by bills, invoices, or receipts. However, pecuniary losses also encompass other financial losses that may be more challenging to calculate, such as the loss of financial support, loss of household services, and loss of future earnings for parents and other family members.
The loss of financial support refers to the income that the deceased person would have contributed to their family had they lived. This loss is particularly significant for families who relied on the deceased person as their primary breadwinner. In determining the appropriate compensation for this type of loss, the court will consider factors such as the deceased person’s age, occupation, earning capacity, and anticipated future earnings.
The loss of household services encompasses the value of services that the deceased person would have provided to their family, such as childcare, housekeeping, and home maintenance. This type of loss can be challenging to quantify, as it involves estimating the monetary value of tasks that may not have been compensated through traditional wages. The court may consider factors such as the deceased person’s role in the family, their contributions to household tasks, and the cost of hiring someone to perform those tasks in determining the appropriate compensation.
The loss of future earnings refers to the income that the deceased person would have earned over their remaining working life had they not died. In calculating this loss, the court may consider factors such as the deceased person’s age, work history, career trajectory, and potential for future promotions or raises.
What is the upper range of wrongful death compensation for both economic and non-economic damages for the loss of a child?
Recently there was a case involving a young woman who was killed in a fire in her basement apartment. The girl’s parents brought an action against the landlord for negligence. A jury found the defendant responsible for the young woman’s death through the lack of a properly implemented safety plan, inoperative smoke alarms and insufficient exits. The jury awarded damages of $1.3 million: $250,000 to each parent for loss of care, guidance, and companionship; another $250,000 each for mental distress; $174,800 in future costs of care for the father and $151,200 in future costs of care for the mother.
When facing the devastating loss of a child due to a wrongful death, finding the right lawyer to represent your interests and guide you through the complex legal process is crucial. Lalande Personal Injury Lawyers are compassionate, experienced, and knowledgeable wrongful death lawyers who understands the intricacies of wrongful death cases. We are one of the only in Ontario law firms that specializes in wrongful death cases as a main part of our practice. We have a proven track record of success AND ability to navigate the legal system effectively and secure favorable outcomes for their clients. Additionally, it is important to find a lawyer who communicates openly and provides personalized attention to your case, as this can help alleviate some of the emotional burden during this difficult time.
For the client, it is essential to be well-prepared as you can for your first meeting with our wrongful death lawyers. This will help ensure you make the most of your time together and enable us to better understand your case.
To assis here are some steps and questions to ask:
Gather documents and evidence: collect any relevant documents, such accident reconstruction reports coroner reports, autopsy reports, police reports, photographs, and witness statements. Also bring in a copy of your auto insurance policy if you are able. if you applied for accident benefits, please bring in the name of your adjuster and insurance claim number.
If you can, prepare a timeline: create a detailed timeline of the events leading up to the wrongful death, including dates, times, locations, and people involved.
Please also bring in a list of questions. The most common ones that we often hear include:
The emotional devastation and grief experienced by a parent when their child is killed is immeasurable and profound. The loss of a child is often described as the most unbearable pain a parent can endure. The natural order of life is disrupted, and the future they had envisioned for their family is shattered in an instant.
Shock and disbelief are normally followed by intense grief. Parents may find themselves searching for the child’s presence in every corner of their home, hoping to catch a fleeting glimpse or hear their laughter echoing through the halls. Despair and sadness may become constant companions, and it can be difficult to find solace or comfort in the world around them – especially if their child was killed in an accident which could have been prevantable.
If your child has been killed as a result of someone’s negligence, carelessness or recklessness call us today. Our child wrongful death lawyers have been litigating wrongful death cases since 2003 and can help you recover both financial relief and a sense of justice. While no amount of money can ever truly compensate for the loss of a loved one, the compensation we can recover can help address the various financial and emotional hardships resulting from the wrongful death of yoru loved one
To schedule your free consultation with our wrongful death lawyers, call us toll-free, no matter where you are in Ontario at 1-888-LALANDE or local throughout Southern Ontario area at 905-333-8888. Alternatively, you can chat with our live operator 24/7 or send an email through our website and we will be happy to get right back to you.
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