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Determining fault in British Columbia wrongful death elusive

When a highway accident takes the life of a loved one, details and circumstances can often remain indistinct and unclear for a long while afterwards. The trauma of bereavement doesn't leave much room for analysis even if memory replays the agonizing scene over and over. At some point, even after British Columbia RCMP may have declined to press criminal charges, the grief-stricken family might begin to question whether there is legal cause for a wrongful death lawsuit.

Accompanied by her family, a woman who commuted regularly between Bellingham and Vancouver was driving along King George Boulevard.  As she approached 48th Avenue, a motorcyclist weaving from one lane to another cut her off, causing her to land her SUV in a swampy ditch. Good Samaritans helped her family out of the overturned vehicle, but the young mother remained pinned behind the wheel.

Tragically, almost a week to the day, she died after having slipped into a coma. The loss of any family member is always debilitating and even more poignant when it is someone respected and cherished by her community. In this particular case, the loss of a spouse and parent precipitated the unwelcome need for her husband to quit his Vancouver job and move back to the Bellingham family home.

It remains curious that the Surrey RCMP had investigated the role of the motorcyclist's erratic driving and cleared him or her of criminal charges. This is where the experience of a personal injury lawyer might be of great benefit, simply because his or her knowledge of British Columbia law could conceivably identify fault amenable to legal recourse through the civil justice system. Determining legal fault as well as helping to quantify damages, such as end-of-life costs and, in this case, loss of career and change of residence expenses, might ease the grieving family's way through a wrongful death lawsuit.

Source: bc.ctvnews.ca, "'Everybody calls her our angel': Church community mourns Washington woman's death after Surrey crash", Dario Balda, Oct. 8, 2017

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