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Hamilton Wrongful Death Lawyers

WRONGFUL DEATH ACCIDENT LAWYERS SERVING ALL OF ONTARIO

Our Hamilton Wrongful Death Lawyers help Families all over Ontario. Start your case today.

There is nothing worse than losing a loved one unexpectedly because someone else was careless. We represent families of loved ones who have died. We fight for answers, justice and compensation to make sure surviving family members are taken care of financially. We will fight for you. 

However, when a death is unexpected and traumatic, feelings of grief, shock, and disbelief are much more pronounced. We assume our loved ones will reach old age, but death can come earlier than expected—and when it happens, we are unprepared. We are not ready and we become lost.

Losing a loved one is never easy. Losing a loved one by sudden death in a car accident or because of someone’s carelessness or negligence is even worse. One of the most devastating tragedies your family can face is the loss of a loved one through a serious accident. When a death is expected, the onset of grief and loss are feelings you know you will face.

Seeking legal advice may be the last thing on your mind, but if someone you love has been killed due to another person’s negligence, reaching a Hamilton wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible is vital.

How do I find wrongful death lawyer?

We would encourage you to read this article, which focuses on how to hire a lawyer. We understand that it’s very difficult to find and hire a fatality lawyer if you do not have a personal relationship with a lawyer or a referral from a friend or family member.

We understand that families are often overwhelmed and emotionally, feel like they are in an insurmountable place in their lives. Our lawyers represent the families of fatality victims province-wide. Matt Lalande has been practicing wrongful death law since 2003 and understands that losing a loved one, unnaturally and unexpectedly, is always a traumatic experience regardless of the cause.

We would recommend that you interview several lawyers and retain a lawyer or law firm that you feel most comfortable talking with. You will meet some lawyers that smile, and some that don’t. You will meet some lawyers that understand your situation, and some which you feel that simply do not. You will meet some lawyers that feel your pain and are passionate, and some that simply recite the law to you from across the table.  You will meet some lawyers that you feel that you could pick up the phone and call, and others that you will not.

Remember this, a wrongful death car accident case is a very long process – and it’s important that you do not feel intimidated by the person you work with.  You need a lawyer to make you feel like you are part of the team. It’s important that everyone works together and everyone has a connection, from boardroom to Courtroom.

My loved one suffered before her death, can we claim pain and suffering?

Yes. In Ontario, the Trustee Act generally governs survival actions by estates, which cover the deceased’s losses that occur before death. Section 38(1) of the Trustee Act provides that the executor or administrator of any deceased person can sue for the injuries  in the same manner and with the same rights and remedies as the deceased would, if living, have been entitled to do. The compensation, when recovered for the victim’s family, shall normally form part of the personal estate of the deceased. The Trustee Act in Ontario allows an estate’s executor to maintain a lawsuit on behalf of a deceased person – however, the executor may not pursue compensation for “death or for the loss of expectation of life” – but rather, for the suffering that the deceased endured.

Who can start wrongful death case in Ontario, and how?

In Ontario, certain family members have the right to compensation. The Family Law Act allow specifically enumerates and defines the family members that can bring an action for the loss of care, guidance and companionship, as well as pecuniary loss resulting from the injury or death. The legislation permits spouses, children, grandchildren, parents, grandparents, and siblings to make a claim. A deceased person’s same sex partner may also be able to make a claim in Ontario.

In Ontario and for the purposes of a wrongful death case, a spouse is defined as two people that are married to each other or that have been living with each other continuously for three years – or if they are the natural or adoptive parent of a child. Dependent kids could also be kids from a previous marriage who is receiving child support, paid by the car accident victim.

What kind of wrongful death compensation is my family entitled to?

In Ontario, family members are entitled to bring claims for economic and non-economic damages.

Economic damages is something your lawyer might call pecuniary compensation. This typically refers to the loss of money as a result of injury. Pecuniary damage in the context of wrongful death, may include loss of potential earnings – meaning the potential earnings that your loved one would’ve made and contributed into the family.

It’s important to understand that the basis of any wrongful death lawsuit is to put family members in the same financial position that they would have been in, had their loved one not been killed. In the case of wrongful death compensation, it’s necessary to measure the financial loss suffered by all surviving dependents.

Typically, compensation such as the loss of income is limited to the spouse and kids of the person killed in a car accident. The financial loss is normally calculated with reference to the income that your loved one would’ve made, after deducting income tax and the amount that he or she would’ve personally consumed, had he or she lived.

In other words, the focus is to allow you and your loved ones to maintain the same quality of life, from a financial perspective, as would have been maintained had your loved one not been killed.

Non-economic damages – there is no actual definition for wrongful death compensation in Ontario. Instead, family members that are considered dependents, are eligible to recover compensation for the loss of guidance, care and companionship that they would have received had their loved one not been killed in a car accident. Typically, this type of compensation is and will be assessed by a judge or jury, rather than statute.

The loss of care guiding companionship is hard to quantify. Typically for a spouse there would be a loss of companionship. For a child, Courts would assume there is a loss of guidance and care. Judges and Juries typically try and do their best to properly compensate a family who has lost a loved one in a car accident.  In fact quantifying the loss of your loved one’s life in terms of money doesn’t really make sense, but it’s the only remedy which a court has available to it in the circumstances. Calculating compensation and wrongful death cases is not an easy thing because there is no amount of money the can ever replace a loved one’s life, or the contribution that he or she makes to the people around him or her. Emotional bonds cannot be calculated in terms of dollars and cents.

What’s important to understand is, despite how they feel, judges and juries are not entitled to award millions of dollars in compensation for the loss of care guidance and companionship. They must follow a range consistent with compensation previously made by other judges in other cases. It’s important to talk to the lawyers that you interview about this. Experienced car accident fatality lawyers will be able to give you a range of compensation in this regard.

Factors in assessing non-economic damages – in assessing damages for the loss of care guidance and companionship for all family members and dependence, courts typically follow comments in cases previously made by other judges in other cases. For example several factors that have been examined by judges in awarding compensation and wrongful death cases are:

  • the age of your loved one at the time of his or her death
  • his or her physical health at the time of his or her death
  • whether your loved one lived with his or her dependents, and if not the frequency of visits
  • the intimacy and quality of your relationship with your deceased loved one prior to his or her death
  • your emotional self sufficiency
  • whether you have had been separated at any point in your marriage or relationship, and why
  • whether you were separated at the time of the car accident
  • your loved one’s life expectancy, had he/she not been killed
  • your life expectancy
  • the health of your relationship

Your income loss –  in addition to the loss of your loved ones income into the family,  the living spouse might have suffered a personal loss of income due to the psychological grief he or she suffered as a result of the death of the family member.

Loss of benefits –  if your loved one had medical dental and drug coverage benefits, you may be able to claim these losses as a pecuniary losses.

General expenses –  dependents may advance claims for expenses as pecuniary losses. Recording of all such expenses including funeral expenses, parking, meals, travel or any other expenses incurred as a result of the death of your loved one should be kept and provided as a part of your losses.

Rehabilitation or attendant care services: you or your surviving family members may require counseling services and other rehabilitation type services to help move on through the grieving process. Some surviving dependents have required lifelong psychological care. You and your loved ones may be entitled to future care costs if those costs are not provided for in the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule.

Household and Childcare Services – you or your surviving family members may be able to claim household and childcare services. Spouses and children are entitled to be compensated for the value of the loss of household services provided to them by the deceased family member. Children also must be compensated for the value of loss childcare services that would’ve been provided by the decease, had he or she survived. These awards are typically not dependent upon the likelihood of replacement costs being incurred. Rather the awards are an attempt to monetize the value of the deceased contribution to the household.

Loss of inheritance – in certain situations, dependents may advance a claim for loss of inheritance. In other words, if not for the deceased premature death, the accident victim would have built up a larger estate that would’ve been available to beneficiaries, and therefore the beneficiaries would’ve been deprived of the benefit of the increase in the estate.

Do you serve victims outside of Hamilton?

As Hamilton wrongful death lawyers, our goal is to not only obtain compensation on your behalf for your pain and loss, but also to help financially protect your children and family by making sure there is enough money in place to continue funding shared family expenses, pay the mortgage, put food on the table, and pay for kids’ activities. The untimely loss of your loved one shouldn’t mean you can’t afford vehicle payments, tuition, or any other type of shared expense.

Our clients should not have to worry about who’s going to pay the mortgage and how they’re going to cover their bills. We worry so you don’t have to.

In Ontario, surviving eligible family members are entitled to make a claim or sue because of the injury or death of another family member, in particular, the spouse, children, grandparents, parents, siblings, and grandchildren are able to sue for damages.  Damages in Ontario wrongful death cases are typically comprised of:

(a) actual expenses reasonably incurred for the benefit of the person killed;
(b) actual funeral expenses reasonably incurred;
(d) loss of  household and handyman services that would have been provided by the deceased;
(e) loss of shared family income – income that the deceased would have contributed to the survivors or family unit;
(f) loss of inheritance;
(g) 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 injury or death had not occurred;
(h) past and future wage loss of the survivor (FLA Claimants);
(i) future care, attendant care or rehabilitation costs for the FLA Claimants;
(j) loss of benefits that the survivor might have provided to the family (drug and dental);
(k) past and future expenses;
(l) past and future direct pecuniary losses of the FLA claimant (i.e. pension reduction, loss of benefits)
(m) management fees for lump sum awards for pecuniary loss;
(n) gross up to offset the effects of income tax on awards for future loss.

What happens to the loss of my spouse’s income?

What happens if the breadwinner of the family passes away unexpectedly? Who will help pay the mortgage, the bills, tuition, hockey, dancing, etc.? If the loved one who died was working at the time of death, and it can be shown that he or she would have continued to earn income in the future, then the survivors and family members may claim a loss to compensate them for a portion of the lost income.

This is what is called a “dependency” claim. It is calculated based on the net income your loved one would have contributed to your family members and the household. As experienced wrongful death lawyers in Hamilton, we certainly know how to have the value of the dependency claim properly assessed in order to help protect your family’s financial future.

It would be unfair for surviving family members to suffer financially because their loved one was taken away unexpectedly by someone else’s negligence. A wrongful death lawyer from our firm will seek justice and nothing less.

What about the loss of a pension or benefits?

In Ontario, the loss of a spouse’s pension or benefits can certainly be quantified. In some cases, a person’s death may end medical, dental, and drug coverage benefits for a survivor. These benefits can be claimed without any type of dependency reduction.

Similarly, the loss of pension is the loss of income which derives from a contractual agreement. A surviving spouse certainly has a claim to a deceased’s pension income. This is a direct financial loss for income he or she otherwise would have received directly if not for the death of a spouse.

We will never ask your family for sees upfront. Ever.

We understand that a legal bill is the last thing you need after losing a loved one. We also understand that you may be hesitant to contact a Hamilton wrongful death lawyer because it may cost too much.

At our firm, we never charge up-front fees to meet and talk about what rights you might have in your wrongful death case. Our Hamilton wrongful death lawyers are happy to spend as much time with you as you need—with absolutely no obligation. In fact, we encourage you to meet several lawyers to find the best fit for your family.

Secondly, if you decide to retain Lalande Personal Injury Lawyers, we will never ask you for money up front. There are no fees or expenses paid unless we win your claim. When we accept a wrongful death case in Hamilton, we pursue it with the dedication and devotion that your family deserves.

We are happy to advance the entire cost of handling your lawsuit, only recovering our fees upon the successful resolution of your case. Our legal fees and how you are charged will be fully laid out for you in an easy-to-read agreement so you and your family understand exactly how we are reimbursed at the end of your case.

What is your wrongful death case worth?

You and your family are likely wondering about the value of your Hamilton wrongful death case as you research the legal process and the right law firm to assist you. Unfortunately, it is simply impossible to estimate what a wrongful death case is worth.

However, our Hamilton Wrongful Death Lawyers endeavor to meet with our clients throughout their cases (before mediation, pretrial, or trial) to discuss both their expectations and possible ranges of compensation that may be recovered via settlement or verdict. We believe that any lawyer who estimates the value of a wrongful death case prior to obtaining proper opinions is incorrect and is providing inaccurate information.

The possible ranges of compensation can be realistically evaluated as the case progresses, however. While insurance companies are dedicated to minimizing your compensation, an experienced wrongful death lawyer in Hamilton will present your case in a professional and persuasive way. Factors that will no doubt be important in determining your entitlement to compensation may include the following:

  • Whether the deceased suffered before death;
  • How long the deceased was alive before death;
  • How the deceased died;
  • Who the defendants are;
  • The pain and loss you and your family have suffered;
  • The loss of guidance children and family members have suffered;
  • The loss of companionship a spouse or family members have suffered;
  • The lost income the deceased can no longer generate for the family;
  • Funeral costs and additional expenses surrounding the death;
  • Lost benefits, pensions, and other costs and expenses surrounding the death;
  • The loss of housekeeping and home maintenance the deceased would have provided;
  • Equally important is the reputation of the insurance company defending your case. While all insurance companies are more than happy to withdraw monthly premiums from the bank accounts of their policyholders, several insurance companies have an obvious reputation for paying out as little as possible.

No matter how your loved one died, the pain of knowing that his or her death might have been preventable is extremely difficult to stomach. The grieving process is made worse by the financial burden death creates. If you are struggling with the loss of your loved one, we are here to help.

It is important that you engage in a meticulous analysis and recording of all your expenses, including travel, parking, meals, and any other funeral-related expenses reasonably incurred as a result of the death of your loved one.

Obtaining Compensation for Your Wrongful Death Case

After your loved one has died, you are faced with a choice of the best way to obtain the compensation that your family needs. Many families first opt to try to negotiate with the responsible party’s insurance company to obtain a settlement check. This is usually the quickest way to get compensation, but it comes with its drawbacks.

Insurance companies do not care about your family’s financial situation, nor do they feel the need to make up for the wrongs their policyholders committed. For these companies, it is all a matter of dollars and cents. The fewer of them that they spend, the better off they are.

This is why you need a lawyer who has experience in dealing with these companies and knows how to negotiate with them. These companies have a time-honored way of doing business, with an arsenal of weapons they use against you to save money. Your lawyer needs to be wise to their tricks and ready to fight for you.

You can expect that settling your claim with the insurance company will take some time. The claims process is one big negotiation where you need to insist on what you legally deserve. In the end, there is plenty of give-and-take after the insurance company likely sends several very low settlement offers your way. Many cases will eventually result in a settlement agreement. However, your lawyer may first need to put pressure on the insurance company.

At some point, your lawyer may give you advice that you need to file a lawsuit against the defendant in court. You may even do this right after the wrongful death as a way to begin the legal process. You have a limited amount of time to file a lawsuit, and some lawyers will recommend that you not wait. The insurance company may still contact you to discuss a settlement after your lawyer files your case. There is nothing that says that your case has to go to trial.

It takes experience and expertise to deal with an insurance company. These businesses have been operating for decades and centuries under the same principle; loyalty first to their shareholders. However, they are also rational businesses. If they know that they will have to pay much more in a lawsuit, they will begin to budge in settlement negotiations. First, they must try to see whether you would accept less. Hiring a lawyer reduces the risk that you will receive a shortchanged settlement agreement because you do not know what your case is worth.

Always make sure that you understand exactly what you deserve before you sign anything. You may choose to settle a case because it gets you money quicker, and there is nothing wrong with that. However, you should do this with a full understanding of your legal rights.

Types of  Wrongful Death Claims.

Wrongful death occurs in a situation when an individual has succumbed to life-threatening injuries that are caused by another individual’s negligent actions or mistakes. There are many common types of wrongful death claims that we have experienced as Hamilton wrongful death lawyers.

Motor vehicle accidents – Motor vehicle accidents are a common cause of wrongful death, especially from individuals who are hit by vehicles traveling at high speeds, such as on highways. These accidents may include T-bone accidents, head on collisions, rear end collisions, trucking accidents, motorcycle accidents, and sideswipe collisions. The force of a car accident can strike an individual unexpectedly, causing jerk movements that lead to spinal cord injuries, hyperextension in the neck, and brain injuries, all of which ultimately can cause death. Additionally, individuals who experience rollover accidents may become trapped in the vehicle and crushed under the weight of the car. Statistics on car accident related wrongful death cases can be found here.  

Car Accident Wrongful Death – Car accident wrongful death in Ontario is when a fatality is caused due to the negligence or carelessness of an at-fault driver. Whether it was running a red light, speed racing, not obeying a stop sign, using a cell phone, being distracted – an individual can be held responsible for the death of another if that individual’s conduct caused his or her death.

The driver will not pay your compensation personally. The negligent driver’s automobile liability insurance will cover claims made up to policy limits, which is typically $1 million- $2 million in Ontario. Compensation can never bring your loved one back and no award of damages can replace the love and care that you received, but compensation is a remedy that could help you adjust financially and replace financial support that your loved one would have contributed into the family. If you depended on your loved one to help pay for the mortgage, car payments, hockey, dance lessons, insurance, summer camps, food, utilities etc. then you should not be deprived of these family requirements and necessities that you have been used to, because a negligent driver killed your spouse.

If a person’s wrongful or careless conduct has caused the death of your loved one in a car accident, it’s important that you seek legal advice early on. We understand that you have been grieving extensively – but it’s also important that you help protect your family’s financial future, sooner rather than later. By hiring our lawyers, you can assure that the person that caused your loved one’s death will be held financially responsible for his or her negligent conduct.

Motorcycle accident wrongful death – Individuals riding motorcycles are at significant risk for motorcycle accidents, particularly those involving collisions with other vehicles. Motorcyclists are vulnerable to the sheer force of a vehicle and are often not seen in the blind spots of other drivers. These types of collisions can result in fatalities and severe, life-changing injuries.  In Ontario, injury to the head and neck has been reported as one of the leading causes of death in fatal motorcycle accidents – up to 56%.  Skull and neck fractures account for a portion of un-survivable injuries seen in motorcycle crash victims. Chest and abdominal injuries are also very commonly seen in fatal motorcycle accidents, as well as injuries to the extremities, spine and the pelvis have also been reported in fatally injured victims of motorcycle accidents.

Bicycle and cycling wrongful death – Bicycling is associated with many health benefits, but also with the risk of injury and death.  An individual riding a bicycle is not protected by the walls of a vehicle as is an individual within that car, and ultimately many individuals who are struck by vehicles riding a bicycle can be killed. Many bicycle accidents happen because cars do not see individuals or they are driving while distracted.  Texting and driving is more likely than not a contributing factor in rising bicycle fatalities.   Other causes of wrongful death and bicycle fatalities are:

  • when a vehicle overtakes a cyclist traveling in the same direction;
  • vehicle turns into the path of a bicyclist going in the same or opposite direction;
  • when a cyclist rides in the wrong direction;
  • dooring accidents (when a parked vehicle opens a door in front of the path of bicycle);
  • obstructions or visibility/lighting issues;
  • speeding Vehicles – Bicycles are smaller than cars, which often makes it difficult for  drivers to see them – especially if they are speeding.

Pedestrian wrongful death – As with individuals on their bicycles, individuals who are pedestrians who are struck by motor vehicles are not protected against the sheer force of a vehicle weighing thousands of tons. Pedestrian accidents could occur as individuals are crossing the street, walking on streets that do not have proper sidewalks, or while they are walking through parking lots. Fatalities are a significant risk for pedestrians and this can lead to tragic circumstances for those involved.

Defective product causing wrongful death – In some cases, defective or unsafe products that enter the marketplace can pose serious and fatal risks to the consumers. Defects could occur in the product’s ingredients, packaging, or even marketing. Manufacturers that have provided defective or unsafe products on the market to consumers can be held liable when a consumer has died as a direct result of the issues with the product.

Assault and Battery wrongful death – it is not uncommon for violent assaults to lead to wrongful death.  When someone intentionally attempts or causes harm to another, by gunshot, shooting, stabbing or physical assault – the estate and loved ones of the deceased may file suit for wrongful death and seek compensation for the lost of their loved one.

Truck Accidents and Wrongful Death

Truck accidents are a problem across Canada. Almost 2,000 Canadians die each year in accidents with heavy trucks, and the numbers are increasing. As fewer Canadians shop at stores and more make purchases online, the truck traffic throughout the country is increasing.

More trucks on the road mean more risks to drivers and their passengers. Both Canadian and American trucks clog roads in Ontario. These days, truck drivers’ habits have become even more dangerous, as they are under pressure to deliver their cargo in time.

Truck drivers have contributed to the increase in accidents through:

  • Speeding (especially as vehicle traffic decreased in 2020) – Fewer cars on the road encouraged truck drivers to ignore traffic laws. In addition, they are under increasing time pressure.
  • Driving distracted – truck drivers on long hauls may try to do other things behind the wheel. Primarily, this involves checking their phone and sending texts. It could also include eating, which causes them to take a hand off the wheel.
  • Fatigued driving – under pressure to make deliveries, truck drivers may spend too much behind the wheel. This causes them to lose focus, and they may even fall asleep while driving. Canada allows truck drivers to operate vehicles for 13 straight hours.

Passenger vehicle drivers have much less chance of escaping a truck accident without serious injury. They are much more likely to die in these crashes because trucks are far bigger than their own cars. What is even worse is that truck accident victims may require multiple surgeries and lengthy hospitalization before they succumb to their injuries. Their medical bills before they died could impose significant financial burdens on their surviving families.

Losing a loved one in a truck accident will cause a family to experience overwhelming grief. Their loved one has gone out in their car and not come home because of the carelessness of a truck driver, who should know how to properly do their job and follow traffic laws.

If the deceased had children, their loss will cause them lifelong impacts from growing up without a parent. Without financial compensation, the family could struggle financially, both now and permanently.

You will likely have many questions about what happens to your family after a truck accident has taken your loved one. While financial concerns will be foremost in your mind, you will also want justice when a truck driver has done something wrong.

You will want a company that employs the driver to pay a price. You can do this through a wrongful death lawsuit. This will not bring your loved one back, but it can help your family survive in the aftermath of the accident and get some degree of closure for the accident.

Truck accident lawsuits are more complex because they require additional investigation. However, they also mean that you can sue a trucking company with “deeper pockets.” This is where our lawyers can help you. We will ask all the relevant questions in figuring out who was to blame for the crash and help your family establish its strongest possible case.

Defective Products and Wrongful Death

When you and your family buy products, regardless of the circumstances, you do not expect them to injure you, let alone cause the death of a loved one. You place your trust in a company when you purchase from them or even allow a doctor to use their medical devices for your care. Unfortunately, some companies cut corners when they are selling their products to the public. In a worst-case scenario, their consumers are injured and can die.

Here are some common examples of defective products that can cause death:

  • Problems with brakes in cars that keep a driver from being able to stop
  • Design defects with drugs that cause cancer
  • Food that is tainted with bacteria that causes deadly poisoning
  • Pesticides that cause cancer in farm workers and taint foods

These companies do not get to escape accountability when their products kill your loved one. While they put profits over the safety of their customers, you can get justice by getting a legal judgment out of them, which means that they will have to pay you.

When you file a wrongful death lawsuit against powerful companies, they will fight back. They have high-priced lawyers who are there to protect their own pocketbooks from having to pay for the damage that they caused. They will not simply say that they are sorry and write you a check for your loss. Instead, you can expect a serious fight in a wrongful death lawsuit from a product liability case. This is why you need a lawyer who is unafraid to take on large corporate interests.

To win a product liability wrongful death lawsuit, you will need to prove that the manufacturer is at least somewhat to blame for the injury that took your loved one’s life. Your lawsuit would have to show that they failed to meet the reasonable standard of care that is expected from a manufacturer by a “balance of probabilities.”

Corporate defendants do everything they can to fight these lawsuits. You can assume that if your loved one died due to using a product, they were not the only ones. Large-scale product liability lawsuits with death involved threaten a company’s reputation and existence, and they will come out fighting.

There are three different ways that you can show that a product was defective:

  • Negligent manufacture
  • Negligent design
  • Negligent failure to warn of dangers

Proving your product liability wrongful death case will require expert witnesses and scientific evidence to show exactly how this product was defective. These are complex cases that require a lawyer to get down to the bottom of how the product should have worked and why it did not work in your case. This is why you need a lawyer with experience in these types of cases. If your case is successful, you could receive a large verdict from the court or a settlement check.

Common Injuries That Lead to Wrongful Deaths

Here are some reasons why accident victims will die from their injuries. Many wrongful death cases will involve a sudden trauma that will kill the victim instantly. However, other accident victims may not perish immediately, as doctors try life-saving measures to help them. In other cases, the personal injury is a long illness that will eventually take the victim’s life.

Traumatic Brain Injury – This is one of the leading causes of death in personal injury cases. The brain controls the flow of oxygen to the rest of the body. A sudden impact will immediately kill brain tissue and keep it from sending messages to the rest of the body that control vital life functions. Traumatic brain injuries are often irreversible. If they do not result in immediate death, the victim may perish soon afterward. Brain swelling can reduce blood flow to the rest of the body, and it is very difficult for doctors to manage the swelling in the brain.

Spinal Cord Injuries – Spinal cord injuries present a severe danger for the accident victim in the hours immediately following their injury. One of the major problems that accident victims encounter is damage to their respiratory system. The paralysis caused by a spinal cord injury keeps accident victims from breathing normally. Even people who survive the initial period after their injury face risks in the coming years. The most common cause of death among spinal cord injury patients is pneumonia. If your loved one dies years later from this illness after suffering a spinal cord injury, you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit.

Damage to Internal Organs – Internal injuries will often result in death. One of the most common areas where accident victims can suffer a devastating internal injury is to their chest. This is where the heart and lungs are. Serious rib injuries can puncture the heart, killing the victim almost instantly. Punctured lungs will keep a victim from being able to breathe, and they present an immediate health emergency.

Internal injuries in the stomach area can lead to life-threatening infections, especially when the intestine is punctured or ruptures. These injuries could also disrupt vital kidney functions that clean the body of toxins. These injuries are often not apparent right off the bat, costing the victim vital treatment time. Doctors will then need to perform emergency life-saving surgery, which is not always successful.

Illness – Even without a traumatic incident that causes a sudden injury, one can develop a long-term health problem that could cause wrongful death.

For example, some health and pharmaceutical products lead to an elevated risk of cancer. Zantac was one of the world’s best-selling drugs before the manufacturer pulled it from the market because research connected it to increased cancer risks. Other health products have connections to cancer, such as Johnson & Johnson’s talc powder.

One of the largest product liability lawsuits in history was the asbestos litigation, where a popular building product was causing mesothelioma in people who had prolonged exposure to it. Numerous medical devices have caused illness or infection that have killed patients, including, allegedly, Philips CPAP machines.

How do I look for a wrongful death lawyer?

We understand that it’s very difficult to find and hire a wrongful fatality lawyer if you do not have a personal relationship with a lawyer or a referral from a friend or family member. We also understand that families are often overwhelmed and emotional and feel like they are in an insurmountable place in their lives.

Our lawyers represent the families of fatality victims province-wide. Matt Lalande is a wrongful death lawyer that has been helping surviving family members and loved ones since 2003 and understands that losing a loved one, unnaturally and unexpectedly, is always a traumatic experience regardless of the cause.

Feelings of  loss and anger are no doubt common following the wrongful death of your loved one, and although money cannot reverse your situation, Canadian laws permit family members to take legal action against the person or company that caused the death.

Looking for an Ontario wrongful death lawyer while you are grieving may seem premature or inconsiderate – but remember not all people mourn the loss of their loved one the same way, and some people will take longer than others to get back to start getting back to normal.

What is important, however, is that it’s still very important to at least talk to a wrongful death lawyer to check and see if you have a valid case and, more importantly, to ensure certain evidence has persevered, such as video security footage and phone records. Furthermore, there are certain deadlines that you must be aware of, and if they are missed, you may lose out on the opportunity to make any wrongful death claim.

We would recommend that you interview several lawyers and retain a wrongful death lawyer or personal injury lawyer that you feel most comfortable talking with. You will meet some lawyers that smile, and some that don’t. You will meet some lawyers that understand your situation, and some which you feel that simply do not. You will meet some lawyers that feel your pain and are passionate, and some that simply recite the law to you from across the table, stone-faced. 

You will meet some lawyers that you feel that you could pick up the phone and call, and others that you will not. Remember this, a wrongful death car accident case is a very long process – and it’s important that you do not feel intimidated by the person you work with. You need a lawyer to make you feel like you are part of the team – while at the same time, letting you grieve. It’s important that everyone works together and everyone has a connection, from boardroom to Courtroom.

Who can bring a wrongful death case in Ontario?

In Ontario wrongful death cases, certain family members have the right to compensation. The Family Law Act specifically enumerates and defines the family members that can bring an action for the loss of care, guidance and companionship, as well as pecuniary loss resulting from the injury or death. The legislation permits spouses, children, grandchildren, parents, grandparents, and siblings to make a claim. A deceased person’s same sex partner may also be able to make a claim in Ontario.

In Ontario and for the purposes of a wrongful death case, a spouse is defined as two people that are married to each other or that have been living with each other continuously for three years – or if they are the natural or adoptive parent of a child. Dependent kids could also be kids from a previous marriage who is receiving child support, paid by the car accident victim.

What if my loved one suffered before he or she died? 

If your loved one suffered before his or her wrongful death,  it is only fair that the estate be able to recover general damages for his or her pain and suffering. The Trustee Act provides that the executor of any deceased person may maintain an action for all torts or injuries to the person in the same manner and with the same rights and remedies as the deceased would, if living, have been entitled to do and the threshold to sue has been established under “no fault principle.” 

The section provides that the injured party had met the threshold under the section if the injured person has died or has sustained (a) permanent serious disfigurement; (b) permanent serious impairment of an important bodily function caused by continuing injury which is physical in nature. This particular issue is quite complicated and it is best to speak to a Hamilton wrongful death lawyer to learn your rights and the rights or your deceased loved one. 

Proving Liability in a Wrongful Death Case.

A wrongful death claim can assist a family in supplementing the economic burden that comes with losing a family member. This compensation is available to the victim’s family if certain circumstances occurred and the claimant provides enough evidence that the negligent party is responsible.

There are three main areas of criteria you will be required to meet in order to prove that the negligent party is responsible for the wrongful death of your loved one.  These areas include:

  • The actions of the negligent party directly resulted in the loss of your loved one;
  • The negligent party exhibited reckless, neglectful behavior that did not uphold that individual’s duty of care to your loved one;
  • Your family has suffered significant economic damages as a direct result of the negligent party’s actions.

A Hamilton, Ontario wrongful death lawyer will assist you with all of the facets of your case and ensure that you have substantial evidence to obtain the maximum settlement possible. This can be a difficult and confusing process, especially during a time where emotions run high. As a result, it is best to work with a Hamilton wrongful death lawyer that is highly experienced in claims of this nature who can make the process easier and more successful for you.

Contact our Hamilton wrongful death lawyers today to get the justice your deserve.

Lalande Personal Injury Lawyers understands that dealing with an insurance company can be a complex, confusing, and aggravating time for families who have lost loved ones. Our Hamilton wrongful death lawyers understand that many people have never dealt with a wrongful death lawyer before.

Our firm makes it easy. We simply encourage any inquiries, and we will discuss your legal options thoroughly. Our consultations are free of charge, free of obligation, and completely confidential. Our lawyers are flexible and can arrange a consultation at a time that is convenient to you and your family—and we are happy to answer any questions you have.

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 in the Hamilton/GTA/Niagara 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. 

A death is considered wrongful when it occurs due to the fault or negligence of another person, company or entity.  Damages are assessed by reference to loss with a focus on what the claimants’ position would have been but for the death and to restore that position so far as possible.

Claims by family members resulting from the injury or death of the victim are governed by the Family Law Act, R.S.O. 1990 c.F.3

Section 61(1) of the Family Law Act identifies that  spouses, children, grandchildren, parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters can be awarded damages pursuant to an FLA claim.

Yes. unmarried life-partners can claim damages. For a spouse to bring an FLA claim, sections 1 and 29 of the FLA combine to allow claims in any of the following situations, where the FLA claimant:
  • Was married to the injured or deceased person.
  • Was in a marriage that was voidable or void but entered into in good faith.
  • Lived with the injured or deceased person for three years or more.
  • Had a child with the plaintiff.
  • Was in a relationship of some permanence with the injured or deceased person.

A child includes a person whom a parent has demonstrated a settled intention to treat as a child of his or her family, except under an arrangement where the child is placed for valuable consideration in a foster home by a person having lawful custody.

A parent ncludes a person who has demonstrated a settled intention to treat a child as a child of his or her family, except under an arrangement where the child is placed for valuable consideration in a foster home by a person having lawful custody.

The child and parent do not have to have a biological relationship to each other. The non-biological or adoptive parent must have shown a “settled intention” to treat the child as their child in order to bring a successful claim. A “settled intention” is shown in cases where a parent has acted in a way that shows that he or she intends to treat the child as their own (see MacDonald v. MacDonald, 1979 CarswellOnt 109 (Ont. Co. Ct.) and Hyatt v. Ralph, 2015 CarswellOnt 1332 (Ont. S.C.J.)).

Grandchildren, grandparents and siblings are not defined by the Family Law Act. Consistent with parents and children, it may be argued that they may be included as FLA claimants if there was a settled intention of the parties to treat each other as family. A biological relationship is not necessary.

Section 61(2) of the Family Law Act details the categories of damages that are available.
Section 61(2) of the FLA sets out the following categories of damages:
(a) actual expenses reasonably incurred for the benefit of the perso killed;
(b) actual funeral expenses reasonably incurred;
(d) where, as a result of the death, the claimant provides housekeeping or other services for the person, a reasonable allowance for loss of income or the value of the services;
(e) an amount to compensate for the loss of guidancecare and companionship that the claimant might reasonably have expected to receive from the person if the injury or death had not occurred.
Section 61(2)(e) of the FLA states that a family member is entitled to receive an amount to compensate for the loss of “guidancecare and companionship” that the claimant might reasonably have expected to receive from the injured or deceased person if the injury or death did not occur. These claims are fact specific and require examination and attention to detail.  The phrase “loss of guidancecare and companionship” is not defined in the Act. Thornborrow v. MacKinnon, 1981 CarswellOnt 574 (Ont. H.C.) is the case which provides guidelines on how the terms are defined.
Factors to consider in this category include:
  • Education.
  • Training.
  • Discipline.
  • Moral teaching.
See the Thornborrow case, at paragraph 19.

Factors to consider in this category include:

  • Feeding.
  • Clothing.
  • Transporting.
  • Helping.
  • Protecting.
See the Thornborrow case, at paragraph 20.

Factors to consider in this category include the “joy of shared experiences” including events such as birthdays, graduations, weddings. See the Thornborrow case, at paragraph 22.

Some FLA claimants or survivors suffer a loss of income because of the injury or fatality of a loved one. It can be the most valuable category of damages so it should be carefully considered.  In FLA claims arising out of an injury or death, advise clients to:

  • Track time that was missed from work.
  • Advise their employers that time is being missed to assist an injured family member, or as a result of a deceased family member.
  • Advise treating professionals including their doctors about the fact time is being missed from work.
  • Tell potential lay witnesses about time missed from work.
In a wrongful death claim, claimants may also be entitled to compensation for their loss of the deceased’s income based upon their dependency on the deceased. This claim is based on the loss of shared family income. The shared family income is the portion of the deceased’s income that would have been spent on the family member.
Calculation of shared family income in dependency claims is complicated, and best left to an economist and actuary. The rate of dependency that the FLA claimants had on the deceased will be calculated. The rate will be considered along with positive and negative factors that could have impacted the deceased’s income and the extent to which the claimants would have been dependant.

The future loss of shared family income encompasses what the deceased would have spent out of revenue in the post-trial phase during a natural life-span on the dependants’ cost of homemaking of a family including not only their basic necessities but also amenities and enjoyments of life, taking into account for the relevant period of loss. The decedent’s revenue includes potential income from all sources including pre and post retirement earning periods.

The future loss of wealth in a wrongful death case covers all capital assets which dependants would have derived from the deceased but for the death. Usually this claim in effect
represents loss of inheritance, but may also include assets which would have been obtained during a deceased’s lifetime.

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