June 5, 2015
Few things, if any, are more tragic or taken more seriously by the law than the unnecessary and premature ending of a life. Even deaths that come as the result of an accident are viewed as actionable incidents as far as the law is concerned; though criminal charges resulting from true accidents are rare, civil suits against those whose wrongful acts or neglect results in the death of another person are explicitly allowed in the law.
We understand that if you have experienced the death of a family member, there's no amount of compensation that can make up for your loss. We also know that you're entitled to justice under the law, though, both to make up for your loss in whatever way possible and to hold others accountable for their actions—actions that so quickly and so permanently changed your life. To that end, understanding what the law says when it comes to wrongful death suits can help provide some focus and clarity to what is without question one of the most stressful events of your life.
Alberta's Wrongful Death or "Fatal Accidents" Law
Alberta's Fatal Accidents Act is the piece of law that defines the circumstances under which a wrongful death lawsuit can be brought, and also identifies the parties who have the legal standing to bring such a claim as well as certain other broad details regarding wrongful death claims. This article examines the legal causes for wrongful death actions.
Not all accidental deaths are necessarily actionable—that is, not every death that occurs in an accident is grounds for a lawsuit. The law states:
"When the death of a person has been caused by a wrongful act, neglect or default that would, if death had not ensued, have entitled the injured party to maintain an action and recover damages, in each case the person who would have been liable if death had not ensued is liable to an action for damages notwithstanding the death of the party injured."
Simply put, if the person who died would have had grounds for a lawsuit had they only been injured in the accident rather than killed, then others are entitled to bring a lawsuit on his or her behalf. Most accidents resulting in injuries would be considered actionable or grounds for a lawsuit, especially if that accident is the result of clear negligence or failure to live up to one's duty of care.
Car crashes are a common form of injury-causing accident, for example, and by their very nature they are the result of someone's negligence or failure to take proper care. If everyone followed the rules of the road, yielded the right of way when they were supposed to, and took the care necessary to remain aware of their surroundings while driving, car accidents would be all but non-existent. When one driver makes a mistake and injures another person, that has grounds for a lawsuit; if the driver's mistake kills that other person, that person's family can bring a suit instead.
Compassionate Calgary-Based Wrongful Death Lawyers
If your family member was killed due to someone else's negligence, you deserve to have your story heard and get the justice the law entitles you to. Contact us today to see how we can help.
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