February 20, 2019
If Someone is Killed as a Result of a Negligent Act, Damages May be Claimed
Section 2 of the Alberta Fatal Accidents Act (FAA) provides that:
When the death of a person has been caused by a wrongful act, neglect or default that would, if death had not ensued, have entitled the injured party to maintain an action and recover damages, in each case the person who would have been liable if death had not ensued is liable to an action for damages notwithstanding the death of the party injured.
Spouses, Parents and Biological Children Are Entitled to Bereavement Damages
Section 8 of the FAA provides that spouses of the deceased person are entitled to bereavement damages of $82,000; parents of the deceased person are entitled to $82,000 (shared) and biological children of the deceased person are entitled to $49,000 each.
As per section 4 of the FAA, only one action can be brought in relation to the death. Therefore, the action is generally brought in the name of the executor or administrator of the deceased’s estate and is for the benefit of all bereavement claimants.
Funeral Expenses Are Also Covered
Section 7 of the FAA provides that the following expenses are also recoverable:
(a) expenses incurred for the care and well‑being of the deceased person between time of injury and death;
(b) travel and accommodation expenses incurred in visiting the deceased between time of the injury and death; and
(c) expenses of the funeral and the disposal of the body of the deceased, including all things supplied and services rendered in connection with the funeral and disposal.
Affected Family Members are Entitled to Expenses for Grief Counselling
Section 7(d) of the FAA provides that spouses, common law partners, parents, children, and siblings of the deceased person may claim grief counselling expenses.
If the Deceased Person Supported a Spouse and/or Children, There is a Dependancy Claim
Dependants of the deceased person may advance a claim for loss of dependency and loss of household services provided by the deceased. These claims are usually valued by specialist economists, typically retained by your lawyer.
If an award is made and the dependants are minors, any settlements recovered are sent to the Public Trustee to manage, typically until the minor turns 18.