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Wrongful death lawsuits in British Columbia

Wrongful death lawsuits in British Columbia follow specific procedures as outlined in the law. When a person has died as a result of the wrongful or negligent actions of another person, the other person may be held to be liable for damages in a wrongful death lawsuit.

A wrongful death action must be filed by the personal representative of the deceased person for the benefit of the person's spouse, children or parents of the deceased. The action is commenced by filing a civil claim in the court of jurisdiction. If the person is held liable for the death by a court or a jury, damages will then be assessed.

Damages are awarded to the beneficiaries of the lawsuit in proportion to the injury that resulted in death. The amount recovered after costs not recovered from the defendant is then divided among the plaintiffs in shares according to the court's verdict. Defendants are able to pay money into court in any action in order to satisfy a potential judgment. If an issue is later taken regarding the sufficiency of the amount, the defendant will be able to receive a verdict on that issue as well.

It is unfortunate that people sometimes die because of the negligence of another person. However, by filing a wrongful death civil lawsuit against the wrongful or negligent person, the family of those killed may be able to recover damages for the financial losses they have suffered as a result of their loved one's death. The family members of a person who is killed because of the actions of another may benefit by speaking with a personal injury lawyer who has experience with wrongful death cases. He or she may be able to review the facts of a case in order to identify all claims and recoverable damages.

Source: Queen's Printer, "Family Compensation Act", November 12, 2014

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