Family Compensation Act
The loss of a loved one is painful for the surviving family and friends. When this loss has been designated a wrongful death because of the negligence of another party, the tragedy multiplies as the search for why this happened becomes part of the grieving process.
In British Columbiaa, the Family Compensation Act governs cases of wrongful death. And while financial loss as a result of wrongful death is covered, it does not take all those affected by many different types of wrongful death into account. Children, parents, siblings and other loved ones may receive compensation if there is a death. If there is an injury, even one where financial calamity is a certainty, the Family Compensation Act may not apply. In effect: there must be a death to gain financial support.
The Family Compensation Act was created in 1846, then known as the Fatal Accidents Act. Modeled after British Law, it allows the courts to compensate for the death of the main wage earner who would have continued to earn income for a longer period of time. Very little has changed with the law since the law was enacted. The Act does not cover grief, loss of companionship and the like. Also, families where older loved ones or young children have died have very little recourse in which to seek compensation.
Areas groups, such as the British Columbia Coalition of People with Disabilities, would like to see changes to cover those injured by medical errors and those left disabled as a result of accidents. The Canadian Institute for Health Information estimates that 24,000 people die in Canada a year as a result of medical errors. Yet, there are many who survive and, as with accidents, are left disabled and cannot work. These people are not covered under the Family Compensation Act and receive nothing.
Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia are all provinces that have amended this law to allow claims for grief, lost care, and lost companionship. British Columbia has not amended the Family Compensation Act.
Though the Family Compensation Act has certain drawbacks, it still covers some areas for compensation. If you have lost a loved one due to wrongful death, and are in the Vancouver, British Columbia area, please contact the experienced wrongful death lawyer at the law firm of Stephens & Holman.