Wrongful Death Lawyers Calgary

The unexpected loss of a loved one can leave a family in shock, disbelief, anger, and with more questions than answers. Unfortunately, this emotionally fraught time can be even more difficult to endure when a loved one’s death was caused by someone else’s negligence.

Grief is different for everyone. There is no universal timeline for accepting the loss of a loved one. Getting back to your everyday life can be difficult. To add to an already stressful situation, there are strict timelines for filing a wrongful death lawsuit. To avoid prejudicing your potential claim, contact our Calgary wrongful death lawyers for a free consultation.

What is wrongful death?

Wrongful death is a broad term that captures all incidents where a person loses their life because of the acts or omissions of another person or entity. The act or omission must amount to negligence. Examples of wrongful death include when someone loses their life in a:

  • Motor vehicle accident
  • Slip and fall
  • Trip and fall
  • Product liability
  • Medical malpractice
  • Aviation injury
  • Dog bite or attack
  • And more

No amount of money can cure the heartbreak that follows losing a loved one in a senseless, preventable accident. But for some families, compensation is more about accountability on behalf of the wrongdoer. Most wrongful death claims are not criminal actions which means a lawsuit will likely be the primary legal case against the negligent party or parties. A wrongful death lawsuit can also lead to procedural or policy change by governments or organizations and prevent similar tragedies from happening again.

Who is eligible for compensation for wrongful death claims?

Sometimes we have close relationships with people, without being related. For example, one might be closer to their best friend than their own sibling. Unfortunately, the legal framework in Alberta or other jurisdictions in Canada does not look at the closeness of a relationship with a deceased but rather the relationship itself. Alberta’s Fatal Accidents Act prescribes who may bring a lawsuit following a wrongful death of a family member:

  • Spouse or interdependent partner
  • Parent
  • Children
  • Grandchildren
  • Stepchildren
  • Siblings

If there are multiple family members who wish to bring a claim, this must be done in a single lawsuit. The action should also be brought by the executor or administrator of the deceased’s estate.

What types of damages are available for family members in wrongful death lawsuits?

Putting a dollar value on a wrongful death claim is an imperfect and insensitive process. There are set values of bereavement under section 8 of the Fatal Accidents Act:

Spouse or partner: $82,000

Parent: $82,000 (this amount is to be shared if the claim is brought by both parents)

Each child: $49,000

In addition to bereavement, a family member can pursue a claim for lost dependency and household services. Lost dependency is meant to compensate a family member for the financial dependency they could have expected from the deceased person. For example, a child who loses a parent can bring a claim for the loss of economic dependency they would have received from that parent had the accident not occurred. While a lawsuit cannot bring back a loved one, the goal, at least from a financial perspective, is to bring the surviving child back to the same place had the wrongful death not occurred. The amount that can be claimed under dependency ultimately comes down to the dynamics of the relationship before the loss. Cultural expectations are also relevant.

Loss of household services is separate from bereavement and dependency. It recognizes that household chores once done by a loved one have monetary value. The loss of housekeeping assistance can be claimed from the negligent party and their insurance company. The value of the loss depends on the specific facts of the case. Factors that may be considered include the household assistance provided by the deceased and the estimated cost of replacement.

From bereavement to loss of household services, putting a dollar value on these claims can be difficult for families. Perhaps the only thing worse than having to do this exercise would be not having an avenue for accountability or compensation altogether. Our Calgary wrongful death lawyers can help you and your family handle the legal side of things, so you can focus on getting life back on track – as best possible in the circumstances.

What if the wrongful death occurred in a motor vehicle accident?

If someone is fatally injured in a car accident, the family may have access to additional benefits not available in other accidents. Section B benefits are benefits that are available to an injured person or the family of a deceased person after a motor vehicle accident. Fault of the accident is not taken into account for these benefits, but it is for other damages such as bereavement, lost dependency, and lost household services. Section B benefits can provide:

  • Up to $6150 for funeral service expenses
  • Up to $500 per household member for grief counselling
  • Up to $10,000 in death benefits

How do wrongful death lawsuits work in Calgary?

There is a general 2-year limitation period in Alberta. This means a wrongful death lawsuit needs to be started within 2 years in most cases, after a fatal accident. While this seems like a long time, a lawsuit is usually not the first thing on a family’s mind after a tragic loss. Additionally, a thorough investigation may be required in some cases to identify what happened and who or what the death was caused by. This information is often vital to determine who should be named as defendants in a wrongful death lawsuit.

Once a lawsuit is filed, it must be served on the at-fault parties. In most cases, an insurance company responds to the claim, and they hire the lawyers to represent the defendants. In some instances, proceeding to a Questioning for Discovery can be helpful for a few reasons. First, it can help your lawyer get oral evidence on proving negligence against the at-fault parties. Second, it can be an opportunity for the opposing party to better understand the loss. Without discovery, the opposing party may be left with medical and employment records which on their own are unlikely to prove the severity of the emotional and financial loss.

Once liability (or fault) is established, and the value of your loss has been assessed by your lawyer, negotiations can happen between the parties. It is important to have lawyers with experience in these types of cases to give you and your family the best negotiating position. At Preszler Injury Lawyers, we have been representing Canadian families in wrongful death claims since 1959. Call now to schedule a free consultation.

How can a wrongful death lawyer help?

Our wrongful death lawyers in Calgary can assist with:

  • Investigating the case
  • Issuing a statement of claim
  • Serving the claim on defendants
  • Conducting questioning for discovery
  • Collecting relevant evidence
  • Retaining experts
  • Negotiating with the insurance company
  • And more

Contact our Calgary Wrongful Death Lawyers Today

Losing a loved one in an unexpected accident caused by someone else’s negligence can be a traumatic and devastating experience. Family members often experience a range of extreme emotions, including anger. This is particularly true for bereaved relatives who feel that their loved one’s accidental death could have been prevented or if they perceive that justice has not been served.

By working with our Calgary wrongful death lawyers, families in mourning may be able to find a way to move past this life-changing event, together. Our Calgary wrongful death lawyers have experience holding negligent parties accountable for their actions, pursuing financial compensation for damages incurred by grieving relatives, and helping people in mourning come to terms with their loss.

Our Calgary wrongful death lawyers have assisted numerous families whose relatives were tragically killed as the result of:

  • Car accidents
  • Pedestrian accidents
  • Bicycle accidents
  • Motorcycle accidents
  • Truck accidents
  • Snowmobile accidents
  • Dog attacks
  • Slip and fall accidents
  • Accidents on someone else’s property
  • And more

At Preszler Injury Lawyers, our clients do not pay unless we win. There are no upfront fees, no out-of-pocket expenses, and no charge associated with an initial consultation. To discuss your situation with us today, take advantage of your cost-free, no-obligation first meeting with our Calgary wrongful death lawyers by contacting us today.


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