02 Nov Compensation for the Death of a Loved One in a Motor Vehicle Accident

It can be devastating if a loved one dies in a motor vehicle accident. The Family Compensation Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 126, (“FAC”) provides limited compensation to the surviving spouse and children of the deceased, as well as grandparents who have taken over the role of parent. 

People are often surprised to find that there is no compensation for the grief or loss of companionship that results from the death of a loved one. Compensation under the FAC is essentially limited to the pecuniary loss resulting from the person’s death, including:

Damages for loss of financial support the deceased provided to the family: Once the income of the deceased is determined, the deceased’s personal expenses are deducted and the income left over is considered the loss of financial support. The Court will consider positive contingencies, such as the chances of the deceased being promoted at work if he or she were alive. The Court will also consider negative contingencies, such as the chances of early death, divorce, remarriage, etc.

Damages for loss of love, guidance and affection: Normally only minor children are entitled to this award. The amount of damages depends on the child’s age and attachment to the deceased. If the parent of a deceased child receives compensation for this, it is nominal.

Damages for the loss of services to the family that the deceased would have provided: This loss is based on the average hours per week that the deceased helped out the family, over the projected lifetime of the deceased.

Damages for loss of inheritance: The amount the family member would have received as an inheritance from the deceased is calculated, taking into consideration various factors.

Out-of-pocket expenses incurred as a result of the death: These are limited to the cost of the funeral and other expenses related to the funeral.

Management fees: If a family member receives a large FAC award, the Court may award them money to hire an investment manager to manage their award.

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