In times of need, many turn to their families for support, care, guidance, companionship, and love. Families play an important role in our lives, providing a safety net during both joyous occasions and challenging periods. However, when tragedy strikes due to the negligence of others, the impact can reverberate throughout the entire family unit. In such situations, the Family Law Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. F.3 ("F.L.A."), becomes a tool for family members seeking compensation for the losses they endure when a loved one has been injured or died in an accident.
The definition of family may evolve, but the F.L.A. provides a framework for determining who can make legal claims in cases of injury or death caused by negligence. Eligible family members include spouses, children, grandchildren, parents, grandparents, and siblings. Additionally, the F.L.A. recognizes non-married couples who have cohabited continuously for at least three years or are in a relationship of permanence while being parents.
Child-parent relationships also receive consideration, with the F.L.A. defining a "child" as someone whom a parent has shown a settled intention to treat as part of the family.
The following outlines the types of claims that family members can pursue in cases of personal injury or the death of a loved one:
- Reimbursement for expenses reasonably incurred for the injured or deceased person's benefit.
- Coverage for actual funeral expenses reasonably incurred.
- A reasonable allowance for travel expenses incurred in visiting the person during treatment or recovery.
- If the claimant provides nursing, housekeeping, or other services due to the injury, a reasonable allowance for loss of income or the value of the services.
- Loss of income.
- Compensation for the loss of guidance, care, and companionship that the claimant might reasonably have expected to receive from the person if the injury or death had not occurred.
- General damages for nervous shock.
In cases where contributory negligence is established, meaning the injured person shares responsibility for the incident, the right to claim damages is subject to any apportionment of fault. This includes damages under the F.L.A. as well.
Navigating the legal landscape surrounding personal injury claims under the F.L.A. can be complex, but it is a vital avenue for family members seeking justice and compensation. If you find yourself in such a situation, our dedicated team at JEWELL RADIMISIS JORGE LLP is here to guide you through the process, advocating for your rights, and helping you rebuild.