HAMILTON WRONGFUL DEATH LAWYERS

If you’ve lost a loved one, we will ensure your family’s future is protected.

If a loved one has been taken unexpectedly, our Hamilton Wrongful Death Lawyers will ensure your family gets the justice it deserves.

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. 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.

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.

While no amount of money or help from a Hamilton wrongful death lawyer can help you repair the past and undo the damage that has been done, certain laws protect those who have lost loved ones. Funeral costs can be paid immediately, and certain death benefits can be payable to a spouse, a dependent of the deceased, and people to whom the deceased had financial obligations, such as a child receiving child support.

Our wrongful death lawyers have represented families all over Ontario in a wide range of cases such as:

Do you serve victims outside of Hamilton?

Yes, we serve clients all over Ontario and not jsut in Hamilton. We are happy to travel and visit you – or meet you by video conference and dicuss your case with you. Since 2003 Matt has served families of wrongful death victims in Hamilton, Milton, Oakville, Burlington, Ottawa, St.Catharines, Niagara Falls, Welland, Kitchener, London, Stoney Creek, Mississauga and Toronto. No matter where you are in Ontario, our wrongful death lawyers are able to help be the voice of your family.

What kind of compensation is availabe in a wrongful death case?

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 inheritence;
(g) 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;
(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 deceased’s shared income into the family?

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.

Have you lost income because your loved one died?

In addition to the decedent’s lost income, a surviving spouse may also have suffered a personal income loss as a result of the death of a family member. If there is factual evidence to prove that the loss was so profound that you are incapable of working either part-time or full-time or you now are working in a less stressful, lower-paying job, you might also have a claim for direct financial loss.

There is no doubt that, in some situations, a spouse suffers direct financial losses because of the death of a loved one, including lost earnings or income because of his or her inability to work.

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.

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 travelling 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.

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 reversse 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 behaviour 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.

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 a Hamilton wrongful death lawyer, please fill out the contact form or call us anytime at 905-333-8888 or at 1-833-4-LAWFIRM.

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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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