To the spouse and dependents of a person killed in a car crash, the loss of their loved one is an overwhelming hardship — one that can hardly be imagined unless you’ve lived through it. While money is not a balm for emotional pain or grief, it does help to know what kind of financial support is available when a tragedy like this occurs.
The mandatory Statutory Accident Benefits of a motor vehicle insurance policy may assist with:
- Funeral costs – up to $6,000.
- If optional benefits were purchased, up to $8,000.
- Spousal Death Benefit – up to $25,000.
- If optional Statutory Accident Benefits were purchased, up to $50,000.
- Dependent Death Benefit – up to $10,000 to each dependent. However, if no spousal death benefit is required, an additional $25,000 may be distributed equally among the dependents of the deceased.
- If optional Statutory Accident Benefits were purchased, up to $20,000 to each dependent.
The mandatory (and optional) Statutory Accident Benefits are available regardless of whether the deceased was at fault for the collision. However, in cases of wrongful death—death caused by the fault or negligence of another—further support can be claimed. The spouse, children, grandchildren, parents, grandparents, and siblings may have a claim for compensation for loss of care, guidance, and companionship, for economic loss, as well as for loss of household services.
- Loss of care, guidance, and companionship – this is a category of damages based on the particular family relationship between the deceased and the claimant. There is no cap on the amount that can be recovered under this category. In the recent decision Moore v 7595611 Canada Corp. the Ontario Court of Appeal awarded $500,000 in damages for loss of care, guidance and companionship. However, the Court noted that the amount paid was high due to the severe suffering and harsh reality foisted upon the parents of the deceased.
- Economic losses – this category of damages is broad and can include:
- funeral and burial expenses;
- financial assistance – money the deceased would have provided to the claimant;
- loss of income – losses the claimant suffered as a result of the death (e.g. inability to work due to the wrongful death);
- out-of-pocket expenses – other reasonable expenses that the claimant may have incurred as a result of the wrongful death.
- Loss for household services – this category of damages is available if the deceased was responsible to perform chores in the household.
When a fatal car accident occurs, support can be claimed from a motor vehicle insurance policy regardless of fault. However, the extent of the support will depend on whether it was a wrongful death. A consultation with an experienced lawyer can help you better understand the benefits that may be available to you.