Part 1 of this article discussed the rights of family members of drivers and passengers injured in Ontario car or truck accidents to sue pursuant to the Family Law Act. Part 2 of this article will discuss a family member's claim for loss of guidance, care and companionship.
What is Loss of Guidance, Care and Companionship?
A claim for loss of guidance, care and companionship is what it sounds like, and is basically a claim for how the relationship is affected as a result of the accident and injuries. Determining the extent of the loss of guidance, care and companionship pursuant to Ontario Family Law Act depends on multiple factors, many of which are unique to the individual making the claim. In addition, the extent of loss is also different depending on the injuries. For instance, the claim for a wife of a husband who suffered a catastrophic injury, such as a spinal cord injury resulting in paralysis, may be much greater than the claim of a wife of a husband who suffered a catastrophic injury to his leg requiring permanent hardware placed in his leg.
The husband who suffered a spinal cord injury may be paralyzed from the neck down and need to be in a wheel chair for the rest of his life. Because of his injuries, he will not be able to return to work. He cannot take care of their young kids. In addition, he needs to have someone care for him at all times. His wife now has to take on 100% of the family responsibilities.
The husband who suffered a catastrophic leg injury may be able to go back to work, but not at his previous job. If he was a construction worker requiring him to stand all day, he may not be able to work as a construction worker because the hardware in his leg permanently affects his ability to stand, bend his leg, etc. He may need to find another job that does not require him to be on his feet and take a significant pay cut. Though he can still be involved with caring for his children, the fact that he cannot use his leg like before prevents him from playing sports with his children. As a result, his wife will take on more of the responsibilities for the family. Though her loss is great, it is not as great as the wife whose husband suffered a devastating spinal cord injury.
Family Law Act Claims & Deductibles
One important thing to note is that a family member's non-pecuniary recovery (loss of guidance, care and companionship) is subject to a deductible like the deductible for pain and suffering damages recovered by injured drivers or passengers.
However, the amount of the deductible for a Family Law Act claim is different than the deductible for pain and suffering damages. If the family member is awarded $50,000 or less, then a $15,000 deductible applies. If the award exceeds $50,000, then the deductible does not apply.
In situations where drivers or passengers die as a result of Ontario car, truck or pedestrian accidents, the deductible does not apply at all.
Help After an Accident in Ontario
The personal injury lawyers at Bergeron Clifford have 40 years of experience handling car and truck accident cases in Kingston, Ottawa and Whitby. If you would like to discuss your accident and injury, please do not hesitate to call us at 1-866-384-5886 to schedule a FREE consultation.