We understand that if a drunk driver has taken your loved one or family members you will no doubt have questions that need answers. We have been representing families across Ontario in wrongful death claims since 2003 and understand that the sudden unexpected loss of a husband, wife, parents, children or grandchildren causes indescribable pain and struggle that is lifelong. The grief, stress, and PTSD that often stems from dealing with the unexpected loss of a loved one will soften in time, but will more likely than not never go away. The reality is that when you lose a loved one, such as a child or parent, you lose the most important thing in your life. Life becomes black and white. You do not see color. Life changes – forever.
If a drunk driver causes a wrongful death in Ontario, he or she may be charged criminally with impaired driving causing death. Separate from this, however, family members of someone killed by a drunk driver may be entitled to file a wrongful death lawsuit in order to claim economic and non-economic compensation. Our Hamilton Wrongful Death lawyers have been serving families who lost loved ones indrunk driving accidents in Hamilton and all over Ontario since 2003. If your loved one has lost his or life because of someone else’s thoughtless decision to get behind the wheel while impaired and drive – call us today to learn your rights. We are Ontario wrongful death lawyers who have handled hundreds of fatality cases and can help you understand your rights and what you may be entitled to. No matter where you are in Ontario, our consultations are free and we never ask for money upfront – and you do not have to come to our office.
Unfortunately in Ontario, family members cannot claim compensation for grief, sorrow, emotional distress or mental anguish due to the death of a family member, however, if a drunk driver has taken the life of your loved one, both you and surviving family members have the right to file suit against the driver (his/her insurance company) for both economic and non-economic compensation in Ontario pursuant to a law which we call the Family Law Act generally.
We understand that this can be confusing for people that are not involved with the law. In Ontario, if a driver is charged and convicted with impaired driving causing death, that driver will face one or several possible criminal convictions. In an impaired driving case, the Crown must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the person charged impaired by alcohol. The test for impairment is set out in R. v. Stellato,  2 S.C.R. 478 (S.C.C.), and other cases, and it provides that to find the defendant guilty of impaired driving, a Court must be satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was impaired in any degree by the consumption of alcohol.
But remember – criminal law is not a what loved ones and family must focus on in a wrongful death case. We understand that you would no doubt want the person who caused your loss punished to the full extent of the law for the devastation he or she has caused. Wrongful Death law but remember, if a person’s death is caused by someone’s negligence, family members have the right to bring a civil lawsuit in Ontario seeking damages (compensation) from the person (his/her insurance company). This is what we call a wrongful death case.
We have been helping families in wrongful death cases across Ontario since 2003 – and in every case, one thing is for certain – the unexpected and sudden death of a loved one. Dealing with a loved one’s death, particularly the death of a close family member, is one of the most stressful experiences a person can go through. We understand when you love a loved one, taking legal action against the drunk driver caused the wrongful death is probably the last thing on your mind. However, there may be some financial issues that families may have to deal with, such as funeral & burial expenses as well as other immediate costs that can be recovered without delay from your own or that at-fault driver’s insurance company.
Immediate Costs – in Ontario auto legislation provides that within 180 days after an accident the insurance company shall provide a payment to the insured person’s spouse of $25,000.00 (or more, if optional benefits are purchased) and a payment to each of the insured person’s dependants and to each person to whom the insured person had an obligation at the time of the accident to provide support under a domestic contract or court order of $10,000 (or more if optional benefits were purchased). Ontario auto legislation also provides that your own or the at-fault driver’s insurance company provide reimbursement for funeral expenses in the amount of $6000.00.
Economic Losses of Surviving Family Members – In addition to immediate costs, immeidate family members and dependants may be entitled to economic damages – such as dependancy losses – or the the loss that is experienced by the survivors as a result of loss of the deceased’s contribution to the net family income over their lives. Dependency loss claims should are normally presented by wrongful death lawyers similarly along the lines one would present a victim’s loss of future earnings. The dependency loss can have numerous aspects to it especially if there are surviving children that need to be supported. Other economic claims that are typically made involved the future care required by surviving family members, the surviving spouse’s wage loss or the loss of economic opportunity of the surviving spouse (this type of claim is typically asserted in situations where it is extremely difficult if not impossible to calculate a surviving spouse’s future wage loss. The basis of this type of claim is to compensate the surviving spouse for a loss of economic opportunity that they now suffer due to either increased family responsibilities or having had their earning potential impacted in some other way), household and child care services, and the loss of inheritance. All of these claims should be started sooner, rather than later given the lenghty investigation and research it by our Hamilton wrongful death lawyers, along with our medical and accounting experts that will be required to financially valuate your family’s losses.
Non-Economic Losses – In Ontario, children, grandchildren, parents, and siblings of a deceased are entitled sue for an amount to compensate for the loss of guidance, care and companionship that the claimant might reasonably have expected to receive from the person if the death had not occurred. In determining the amount to be awarded, a court will normally assess the particular relationships between family members and the deceased. Courts will typically consider factors such as the age, mental, and physical condition of the claimant; whether the injured party lived with the claimant, and if not, the frequency of family visits; the intimacy and quality of the claimant’s relationship with the injured party; whether or not the claimant is emotionally self-sufficient; and the joint life expectancy of the claimant and the injured party. The cardinal factors in fixing the precise amount are the extent and duration of the claimant’s loss.
Each Province has different limitations which sets a time limit for filing a wrongful death lawsuit. In Ontario, a wrongful death case must be filed within two years of the date of the loss of your loved one. If you miss your limitation to file suit, you will most likely lose your right to a legal remedy.
While money can never replace your loved one, it may certainly help you and your family’s financial hardship this preventable tragedy has caused. We are experienced Hamilton wrongful death lawyers who can help seek the justice your deserve by obtaining the compensation to which you and your loved ones are entitled. Our Hamilton fatality lawyers have a track record of success for our clients in wrongful death cases as a result of drunk drivers and will guide you through each step of the wrongful death claims process and take diligent care of all legal issues so that you and your family can focus on your grief and the healing process.Call Hamilton Lawyer Matt Lalande today at 905-333-8888 or fill in a contact form. Talking to us does not cost you a thing and our law firm will NEVER ask you for money upfront.