If a person’s death was caused by the negligence or an intentional act of another party, immediate family members can claim compensation. Those entitled to claim such benefits include the surviving spouse, children, grandchildren, parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters of the deceased. The terms “spouse” has a specific definition which must be fulfilled in order to qualify to make a successful claim.
Damages that may be claimed include:
(a) actual expenses reasonably incurred for the benefit of the person injured or killed;
(b) actual funeral expenses reasonably incurred;
(c) a reasonable allowance for travel expenses actually incurred in visiting the person during his or her treatment or recovery;
(d) a reasonable allowance for loss of income or the value of the services where, as a result of the injury, the claimant provides nursing, housekeeping or other services for the person; and
(e) an amount to compensate 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.
One should note that the right to damages may be reduced if it is found that the injured or deceased person contributed to their own death or injury or was negligent leading to the eventual injury or death. Relevant legislation also prevents a deceased person’s estate from pursuing a lawsuit for the wrongful death of that individual. This is because, as the deceased had no right to sue for wrongful death at the time of his death, neither does his personal representative (i.e. estate trustee or executor) have such a right.
Unfortunately, the damages that may be claimed by grieving survivors may be relatively modest under relevant law. It is acknowledged that no amount of money can truly compensate for the enormity of family members’ personal loss or the value of their loved one’s life, which is not quantifiable. However, many people make wrongful death claims because they cannot survive financially without the income of the deceased. They also often hope to encourage more responsible behaviour towards preventing similar tragedies in the future.
If you would like advice about a wrongful death claim, please contact Andrea Kelly.
Andrea Kelly, Lawyer, has extensive experience in wills, trusts, powers of attorney and estate administration matters. She provides clients with a high standard of timely professionalism and expertise, incorporating a very thorough fact finding process. This is quite often enlightening for her clients and facilitates individually tailored services. If you would like to know more, feel free to use the easy contact form or read Andrea’s bio.