The Wagners - A Serious Injury Law Firm blog shares Personal Injury stories and opinions relevant to Halifax, Nova Scotia residents. Let us know what you think.

How do I know if someone is legally liable for my spouse's death?

Victor Lewin - Saturday, September 19, 2015

It is tragic to lose a loved one to someone else's negligence. There is no dollar amount sufficient to cover the loss of their presence in your life, but filing a wrongful death lawsuit can help you recoup the financial losses that their death causes.

Wrongful death litigation can arise from many different types of incidents, including:

  • Car wrecks
  • Boating deaths
  • Fatal dog bites
  • Defective products
  • Injuries on others' premises

The lost wages the person contributed to his or her family's household income can be sought in a subsequent claim for damages.

If the victim suffered for some time before his or her death, even if the suffering was for a very short duration, it may also be possible to seek additional damages for pain and suffering in your claim. In especially egregious circumstances, even traditionally conservative Canadian courts may consider awarding punitive damages as well.

Canada's Supreme Court ruled in 1995 in Hill v. Church of Scientology of Toronto that punitive damages can be awarded when "the defendant's misconduct is so malicious, oppressive and high-handed that it offends the court's sense of decency." Punitive damages are used in cases where the existing damage's award does not deter and punish the individual or entity sufficiently for their breach.

Damages from a car wreck can be limited by each province's laws and the no-fault insurance policies that are in place. To learn what is possible to claim and what is not usually requires the legal services of an experienced personal injury lawyer who can advise surviving family members on the merits of their case.

Source: Findlaw.ca, "What types of injuries can I sue for?," accessed Sep. 11, 2015

Back to blog