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Wrongful Death Lawyers in Hamilton, Serving Victims all over Ontario

Speed, Stunt Racing and Dangerous Driving is brutally dangerous. If a reckless driver has caused the loss of your loved one – we’re in your corner.

You are most likely reading this because you or your family have suffered the sudden and unexpected death of a loved one due to the reckless and irresponsible behavior of another driver. Our wrongful death lawyers have been representing families of loved ones killed in accidents since 2003. We understand that unexpectedly loss of someone significant, close and central to your life, such as a life partner, child, father brother, mother, daughter or sister is a terribly traumatic and devastating event which can affect people in many different ways for a very long time.

There is no doubt that when a loved one dies, family members often find themselves entangled in a complex web of emotions, reactions – and have many unanswered questions. What if your loved one was a breadwinner, had a support obligation or contributed to shared family income? You may have questions about how you will pay the mortgage, pay the car insurance, tuition, groceries, and other family related costs. Survivors who suffer such unexpected unexpected loss, particularly of a parent or child, can also bring out anger and helpless fury. Many want to seek justice but are unaware how or where to turn. Our Hamilton Wrongful Death lawyers have been serving families of those who lost loved ones in speed and stunt racing accidents all over Ontario since 2003. If you have lost a loved one because of someone else’s thoughtless and negligent behavior – call us today to obtain the justice that you and your family deserve. Consultations are free and we never ask for money upfront. Call us today at 905-333-8888 of fill in a contact form and someone will get right back to you.

What is street racing and stunt driving?

Street racing or stunt driving is when an individual or individuals recklessly operate a motor vehicle much faster than the law allows, in a manner that is unsafe for traffic conditions.  Engaging in street racing or stunt driving is absolutely prohibited by Ontario driving laws and puts the safety of others at serious risk. In the past several years there have been many, many individuals convicted of “criminal negligence causing death by street racing” in Ontario. Particularly, in Hamilton, the unfortunate wrongful death case of our client Sara Hoang, is terribly tragic. In this case, the individuals who caused Sara’s unfortunate passing were street racing in the middle of the day down Queenston Road in Hamilton –  lost control, and t-boned Sara’s small car. One of the vehicle’s speedometers was stuck at 126 km/hr at impact, in a 50 km/hr zone.  The individuals involved were convicted of criminal negligence causing death by street racing.  One of the individuals was convicted of impaired driving, while the other was convicted of fleeing the scene. You can read the media reports here.

Unfortunately, many cities in Ontario, including Hamilton, have a well-established culture of vehicle modifications and illegal street racing activity. Ontario Provincial Police released statistics last year which indicated that street racing (i.e. driving at over 50 km/hr or more) was mostly prevalent in Toronto, Ottawa and Hamilton. Men were engaged in speeding more than five times as often as women and males, aged twenty-five to thirty-four were bar far the worst offenders. Tragically, over 75 people died in reckless speed and street racing accidents in 2018.  Even more shocking is that the in the month of May alone, last year, OPP engaged in a blitz and laid 304 street-racing charges on the 400 series highways.

Speed Racing, Stunt Driving and Wrongful Death

Speed racing and stunt driving is often a contributing factor in serious accidents, especially fatal collisions.  The unexpected death of a loved one due to a driver’s reckless driving behavior such as speed racing can no doubt cause immense emotional upheaval. The sudden burden of loss is a traumatic experience that can cause a family to suffer immense grief, depression, panic disorder, PTSD and intense bereavement.

Pursuing legal action against the driver or drivers that has taken  may feel very low on your priority list right now, but we cannot stress enough how important it is to discuss your options with a Hamilton Wrongful Death Lawyer sooner rather than later. The longer you wait, the higher the chance that crucial evidence could be forgotten, defendants become incarcerated for long periods of time, and evidence can be lost, damaged or destroyed.

What is a wrongful death case and why should I think about legal action?

A wrongful death case in Ontario is more of an “abbreviated” way of looking at legal claims that can be brought by the deceased’s estate and certain family members for both economic and non-economic compensation concerning the death of their loved one pursuant to statute.  Certain provisions under the Family Law Act allows specifically enumerated and defined family members to bring an action resulting from the injury or death. The law 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.

What type of compensation is my family entitled to?

While there is clearly no amount of compensation that can alleviate the intense sorrow caused by the sudden death of a family member in a street racing or stunt driving accident, the most common damages awarded in a wrong death lawsuit in Ontario are both economic and non-economic in nature.

Non-economic damages

There can be no question that when a loved one dies, there is enormous grief and mental anguish suffered by family members of the deceased. However, in Ontario, the Family Law Act unfortunately does not permit damages for grief, sorrow or mental anguish suffered by reason of the injuries or death of the relative – but rather, the law is meant to compensate family members for the loss of care, guidance and companionship.

While there is not a specific formula to determine the amount of compensation to be awarded for the loss of care, guidance and companionship, a number of factors have been taken into consideration by the our Courts including:

  • The age, mental and physical condition of the claimant
  • Whether the deceased lived with the claimants and if not, the frequency of visits
  • The intimacy and quality of the claimant’s relationship with the deceased – was it close and loving?
  • Whether or not the claimant is emotionally self-sufficient
  • Whether or not claimants who are children have married
  • Whether or not spouses who are claimants have remarried
  • The joint life expectancy of the claimant and the deceased, or the probable length of time the relationship might be expected to continue

Economic Damages – economic, or pecuniary damages, are awards for compensation which are “objectively calculable” and there exists no maximum cap. Their purpose is to compensate injured claimants for quantifiable items.  Some pecuniary damages are easily calculated (i.e. funeral expenses), while others are a lot more complex (i.e. loss of future earnings/income) thereby requiring your Hamilton lawyer to work with one or more economic expert witnesses to assess the quantum of your overall losses. Notably, the loss of future earnings/income that flowed you’re your deceased loved one generally represents the largest component of a pecuniary award in fatality claims, and will largely depend on a number of factors such as your loved one’s income, age, family financial situation, employment history, future employment potential and personal consumption rates, etc. Theoretically then, there can be no ‘maximum’ or ‘highest’ pecuniary award, per se.

In the context of a fatal accident claim, such items may include:

  • funeral expenses
  • burial expenses
  • loss of inheritance
  • loss of earning/income
  • loss of shared family expenses
  • housekeeping losses
  • future health care or treatment costs

My loved one suffered before he or she died – what should I do?

Claims can be made under the trustee act for your loved one’s loss or suffering before his or her death. S.38(1)  of the Trustee Act  allows the executor of your loved one’s estate to maintain a lawsuit on his or her behalf. However, the executor may not pursue damages for “death or for the loss of expectation of life.

If a driver convicted of speed racing, or stunt driving, can his or her insurance company deny me compensation?

No, however in certain circumstances, the at fault driver’s insurance company may take a position that the dangerous operation of a motor vehicle accident would amount to a “speed or race test” which is technically a breach of policy condition, thus reducing liability coverage to $200,000. This is not always the case in a very rare form of defence argument. However, in situations like this, you would be entitled to pursue excess damages from your own insurance company, up to your third-party liability limits. For example, if you carry limits of $1 million, then you would be entitled to file suit for $800,000, being the amount of third-party limits after the reduction in reduce coverage of $200,000. This is not always the case and if you have lost a loved one due to a motorist speeding or stunt driving, you should definitely talk to a wrongful death lawyer

Have you lost a loved one in an accident caused by someone who was speed racing or stunt driving?

We know that no amount of compensation can change the outcome of a speed or stunt racing accident and replace your loss. However, we are dedicated, compassionate Hamilton Lawyers, who can allow you to focus on other matters during a difficult time. While we cannot turn back the clock, we can help you seek the justice your deserve by obtaining the compensation to which you and your loved ones are entitled.  We allow you to focus on personal matters and help your family get back to a normal life. While money can never replace your loved one, it may certainly help mitigate your family’s financial hardship this tragedy has caused.

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.

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Lalande Personal Injury Lawyers

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