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The impact of the Family Compensation Act in British Columbia

The Family Compensation Act allows a family member of an injured or deceased person to seek compensation. In most cases, the suit will be handled by a personal representative of the beneficiary of such a case. If compensation is sought for more than one person, any award granted may be split between all parties seeking compensation. The manner in which such compensation is split may be determined by a jury or by a judge.

A case may be filed against any individual, partnership or corporation that took action that led to the death of that individual. Although cases are typically brought by a representative of the beneficiary, this not always true. If there is no personal representative or action is not taken within six months of a wrongful death, the beneficiary may take action on his or her own.

Before or during a legal action, the defendant may agree to make payments to the beneficiary or beneficiaries. In the event that the payment is accepted, it may be possible for those receiving compensation to divide it up however they wish. Additionally, the offer may be rejected, and the case may go to trial where a verdict will be delivered by a jury.

When negligence results in a wrongful death, the entity responsible for that death may be held financially responsible. Compensation may be sought for one person or for a group of people who can verify that they are the spouse, sibling or parent of the deceased. A lawyer may be helpful in pursuing such action against a negligent party. Lawyers may be able to review evidence and establish that one party's negligence led to the wrongful and preventable death of an individual.

Source: BCLaws.ca, "Family Compensation Act", September 30, 2014

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