There’s no doubt that the unexpected death of a loved one, be it a child or adult, is a devastating scenario that nobody prepares for. The emotional suffering is often unbearable. Surviving family members often feel overwhelmed with disbelief, anger and sadness – emotions which can be brutally painful for surviving family members to deal with.
Losing a loved one because someone else is negligent or careless with their vehicle, makes matters much, much worse. There will be questions and your family will want answers.
If you have lost a loved one in a pedestrian-vehicle accident, it’s important that you contact our wrongful death lawyers to learn your rights. We are experts in wrongful death law – an area of law that can be extremely complex.
The term “wrongful death” is an American term. In Ontario, wrongful death law is governed by the Family Law Act. The Family Law Act provides the right of the dependence of the deceased to sue in tort, or in other words, file a lawsuit against the person that caused the death of your loved one. In Ontario, a spouse, children, grandchildren, parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters of the deceased, are entitled to recover losses resulting from death of their loved one. Compensation can be economic and non-economic.
Unlike when somebody is charged criminally for causing the death of someone, a civil lawsuit leads solely to an award of compensation for family members. If you and your family are successful in your wrongful death lawsuit, a judge or jury will award the responsible party’s insurance company to pay a sum of money to you and your family. As discussed in detail below, that compensation can be for the loss of care guidance and companionship suffered by loved ones, damages for medical bills, funeral costs, economic loss, loss of income for both the deceased and the spouse, housekeeping losses, as well as damages for the estate.
As your Hamilton wrongful death lawyers serving Ontario, we would gather the evidence and engage in fact-finding, identify the parties responsible for the death of your loved one, file suit for negligence caused by car accident, truck accident, bicycle accident, or motorcycle accident, complete an investigation, challenge the other side’s defences, try to negotiate a favorable settlement for family members and if that does not work, represent you at a trial by judge or jury.
Pedestrian fatalities are alarmingly high and have been on the rise consistently over the past several years. CBC news reported last year that the numbers were becoming “intolerable” and that more pedestrians have been killed in tragic preventable accidents year over year. In Ontario, pedestrians account for more than half of all the deaths on city -controlled roads.
A pedestrian in Ontario can be classified as someone walking or who is not in or upon a motorized vehicle or otherwise propelled. A pedestrian can also be classified as a person in a non-motorized wheelchair or a cyclist. The Ontario H.T.A.’s definition of “bicycle” , includes a tricycle, a unicycle, and a power assisted bicycle but does not include a motor assisted bicycle (“bicyclette”).
The Ontario Road Safety Research Office reported that in 2018, there were 65,580 vehicles in Ontario involved in fatal and serious injury collisions. 578 people were killed, 117 (20.2% of total fatalities) being pedestrians. Consider the following statistics which were reported a few years ago:
Although pedestrian accident deaths are on the rise in Ontario, the vast majority of fatal pedestrian accidents are caused by a handful of contributing factors. Common causes of pedestrian accidents can normally be linked to some sort negligence or distraction, such as:
Distracted Driving – Distracted drivers are extremely dangerous to pedestrians are are the cause of many pedestrian deaths in Hamilton and across Ontario. They tend to ignore traffic control devices (traffic lights and stop signs), ignore posted speed limits, and fail to yield the right of way appropriately. Distracted driving is not just illegal -it is negligent. In Ontario, if distracted driving or texting was a contributing factor in the death of a your loved one, you may be entitled to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Speeding – speeding is often a factor in pedestrian death cases. In Ontario, 67% of the deaths occurred on roads with posted speeds beyond 50 km/hr, and only 5% on roads below 50 km/hr. Speeding is illegal and can be considered careless and negligent driving when it leads to an pedestrian accident. Such accidents are preventable. Families who have lost loved ones who were pedestrians killed in car accidents caused by speeding or a driver’s failure to control their speed deserve compensation for their losses.
Failure to yield – This was identified as a factor in approximately 21% of all deaths in Ontario in 2016. This occurred when vehicles were turning right (7%), left (7%), going straight through intersections (4%) and at pedestrian crosswalks (3%). Almost all failure to yield pedestrian accidents can be attributed to the driver of the vehicle.
Left Turns – Left-turning collisions between cars and people on foot are common because motorists typically focus on oncoming vehicles prior to making the maneuver. Drivers are typically looking right.
Impaired Driving – When a drunk driver causes an unnecessary death, Lalande Personal Injury Lawyers drunk driving auto accident lawyers are available to obtain prosecute your case and obtain compensatory and punitive damages for your losses. If you’ve lost a family member because another person was impaired, please call us to discuss your family’s legal rights with an experienced Hamilton wrongful death lawyer.
Bicycle accidents – cyclists are highly vulnerable and at a high risk of crush injuries, orthopedic injuries and broken bones, brain injury, spinal cord damage and death when there is an auto accident.
A wrongful death lawsuit in Ontario is intended to help a family that has lost a loved one recover compensation for their losses and to help protect them into the future. The most common types of accidents that lead to wrongful death lawsuits in Hamilton and Ontario are car accidents such as fatal traffic accidents with pedestrians caused by negligent or drunk drivers.
In Ontario, family members are entitled to claim compensation for the loss of care, guidance and companionship of their loved ones. There is also a dependency loss, which is a loss that is experienced by the survivors as a result of loss of the deceased contribution to the net family income over their lives. The dependency loss can be complicated especially if there are surviving children. Future lost income must be projected by proper economists or actuaries. The economic loss of children in relation to dependency of a lost parent can be assumed until the age of 18.
A spouse’s pecuniary loss must also be considered in several ways. For example, there may be an negative impact on the surviving spouse’s earning capacity due to their own emotional difficulties and a reduced earning capacity due to increased family responsibilities. When surviving spouses suffer psychological injury due to the loss of their loved one, it is not always easy to get back to work. There may be also a loss of future care if a child dies, a loss of inheritance, and punitive or aggravated damages to consider.
Where wrongful death is caused by a fatal accident, family Law act claimants in Ontario are also entitled to be reimbursed for the reasonable funeral expenses by the negligent party.
Also, if your loved one suffered pain prior to his or her death, the TRUSTEE ACT R.S.O. 1990 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.
The loss of household and handyman services that had been provided by the deceased can also be evaluated. The value of the lost handyman or housekeeping services that a deceased spouse contributed to surviving family members before his or her death is a loss that is compensable.
Family compensation and wrongful death cases is very complex. You should seek the counsel of experienced wrongful death lawyers in relation to noneconomic and economic compensation for surviving spouses, children and family members in pedestrian fatality cases.
Our Hamilton Wrongful Death Lawyers understand that if you have lost a loved one in a pedestrian car accident, it can be tremendously difficult for family members to focus on legal matters or hire a wrongful death lawyer. We also undersand that while compensation will certainly not reduce the pain, suffering and loss caused by a wrongful death, it can help your family recover from the financial hardship and difficulties that a sudden unexpected death can cause. A wrongful death lawsuit can also help your family members find some measure of closure by holding the person or driver responsible for the death of their loved one accountable. Lalande Personal Injury Lawyers will work with you to be sure that all of your family members get the representation they deserve. We understand in most cases, family relationships can be strained or complicated, but will make sure that everyone’s interests are protected, even under these most difficult circumstances. Call us today at 905-333-8888 or fill in a contact form and we will get back to you within hours.