What is the fatal accidents act? There are few things in life more terrifying and gut-wrenching than learning that a loved one has suddenly passed due to another person’s negligence or wrongful actions. If you, or anyone you know, has dealt with or are currently recovering from such a loss, we understand that the emotional and financial toll can be suffocating. To put into words the devastation one may feel after such an event is a fruitless harvest; you may have been irreversibly changed from the loss of a loved one and no amount of money will ever be enough to compensate you for this loss. However, through Alberta’s Fatal Accidents Act, you can make a claim of bereavement (the state of having experienced the loss of a loved one), loss of care, companionship, counselling, and funeral expenses from the at-fault party.
Alberta’s Fatal Accidents Act (FAA) – What Is It and What Can I Expect?
The Fatal Accidents Act allows for a legal action to be brought to recover damages for the benefit of certain family members. What distinguishes the Fatal Accidents Act from most other types of motor vehicle accidents claims is that the Fatal Accidents Act is a creature of statute. In English, this means that the Act or document itself outlines everything from who can sue, who can benefit, what the benefits are, how much a person can claim, etc. This document applies to everyone in the province and generally cannot be altered or modified by judges; that job is for the politicians Alberta’s Legislative Assembly to decide.
Who Is Entitled to Make a Claim Under the Fatal Accidents Act?
Under section 2, the following people are entitled to sue under the Fatal Accidents Act:
- Adult interdependent Partner
- Parent (mother or father)
- Child (Son or daughter)
- Brother or sister of the deceased
- Executor or administrator of the deceased person.
Who is Entitled to the “Benefits” Under the Fatal Accidents Act?
Section 3 outlines who is entitled to benefits under the Fatal Accidents Act:
- Adult Interdependent Partner (AIP),
- Brother or sister of the deceased
Note that the executor or administrator of the deceased person’s estate cannot benefit from the Fatal Accidents Act; they may only bring forth an action.
What are the Benefits under the Fatal Accidents Act?
For the people listed under section 3, the benefits can be found under section 7, which include:
- Cost of care and well-being of the deceased person between the time of the injury and death;
- Travel and accommodation costs from visiting the deceased person between the time of the injury and death;
- Any cost related to the funeral and disposal of the body of the deceased person; and
- Grief counselling
What Are the Damages I Can Expect to Receive Under the Fatal Accidents Act?
Perhaps the most controversial section of the Fatal Accidents Act can be found on section 8: Damages for Bereavement.
Under section 8, if an action is brough forth by the people listed under section 2, the damages for the loss of the deceased person is outlined as follows:
- $82,000 to the spouse or AIP; However, if the spouse or AIP was living separate and apart from the deceased at the time of death, no damages for bereavement can be claimed.
- $82,000 to the Parent(s). However, this number is divided equally if the action is brought for the benefit of both parents, effectively making it $41,000 per parent; and
- $49,000 to each child of the deceased.
The Sobering Reality of the Fatal Accidents Act
It is important to note that the value of each claim is case specific and depends on various circumstances. In other words, if there is reference to any other damages, the overall number can be much higher with evidence of those damages. An example of additional damages could be found byway of a “dependency claim”, but for this article, we will stick to the contents of the Fatal Accidents Act.
To put section 8 into perspective, assuming no other damages exist, if a married father of two children were to pass away from a motor vehicle accident due to the fault of the other driver, assuming both parents are still around, the family unit would be entitled to a grand total of $262,000 under section 8 of the Act.
Understandably for many, this may be a shocking and insulting valuation for the loss of a loved one, However, it is important to note that the controversy surrounding the Fatal Accidents Act is inherently tied to the impossible task of placing a number value on someone life, regardless of how cherished they may be to their immediate family.
Until the Alberta government amends this act, as it stands today, this is what you can expect to receive from the Fatal Accidents Act.
Getting compensation from the at-fault party after a fatal accident can be challenging and may take years of litigation before concluding. In the meantime, real people are dealing with real problems, some of which, if not resolved quickly, can have lasting effects on not just your family but to the community as a whole. Nevertheless, Alberta’s Fatal Accidents Act ensures that you get compensated for losing your loved one in an accident and, at the very least, provides a buffer to ease immediate financial burdens. If things get complicated along the way, it is always wise to seek legal support.
James H. Brown and Associates Is Here to Help!
If you are dealing with the wrongful death of a loved one due to the negligence of another party and have questions about Alberta’s Fatal Accidents Act, let us help. We have over 250 years of combined injury law experience, and our team of precedent-setting injury lawyers is available for a free injury claim evaluation 24 hours-a-day. Don’t suffer alone. Get the compensation you deserve.