Injured drivers/passengers are not the only parties eligible to file Ontario auto accident lawsuits. Many people do not know that family members of injured drivers/passengers also have legal rights against the at-fault drivers. They may recover financial losses related to care, guidance and companionship suffered as a result of the injured drivers/passengers’ injuries.
The law that regulates the rights of injured drivers/passengers’ family members to sue after Kingston, Ottawa or Whitby car or truck accidents is Ontario’s Family Law Act (R.S.O. 1990, c. F.3). Section 61(1) of the Family Law Act provides:
Right of dependants to sue in tort. If a person is injured or killed by the fault or neglect of another under circumstances where the person is entitled to recover damages, or would have been entitled if not killed, the spouse, as defined in Part III (Support Obligations), children, grandchildren, parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters of the person are entitled to recover their pecuniary loss resulting from the injury or death from the person from whom the person injured or killed is entitled to recover or would have been entitled if not killed, and to maintain an action for the purpose in a court of competent jurisdiction. (emphasis added)
Therefore, the act specifies certain family members, i.e., immediate family members, who may bring claims against the negligent drivers. In addition, the act also provides the types of damages (pecuniary and non-pecuniary) family members may recover. Section 61(2) of the Family Law Act provides that damages recoverable may 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) where, as a result of the injury, the claimant provides nursing, housekeeping or other services for the person, a reasonable allowance for loss of income or the value of the services; 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.
Subsections (a)-(d) discuss pecuniary or financial damages, or those that can be measured. On the other hand, subsection (e) discusses non-pecuniary damages, or those that cannot be measured exactly. Factors that determine loss of guidance, care and companionship include the relationship between the injured car accident victim and the family member, responsibilities the uninjured spouse may have to take on because of the accident, etc.
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.