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Filing a wrongful death lawsuit in British Columbia

According to the Family Compensation Act, family members are permitted to file a wrongful death lawsuit after an act of default or neglect that resulted in death. The provisions of the act includes language that governs who may benefit from a wrongful death action.

For instance, a lawsuit is required to be for the benefit of a child, parent or spouse of the decedent. In the event that no action has been initiated within six months of the day the person died, an action can be filed in the name of or by the individuals who would be the beneficiaries of the lawsuit.

In accordance with the act, if any qualifying beneficiaries have suffered any expenses as the result of the incident, then they may be awarded compensation for those damages. Some examples of these expenses are hospital or medical bills and the cost of the decedent's funeral. In order for a claimant to pursue compensation for medical costs, it must be demonstrated that the decedent would have been able to claim similar compensation if he or she had not passed away. It is important to note that the act prohibits more than one action to be brought for the same incident or case.

It can be difficult and confusing to figure out how to file a wrongful death lawsuit. A personal injury lawyer may understand the Family Compensation Act and other aspects of wrongful death claims. A lawyer might answer questions, prepare the case and negotiate on behalf of the plaintiff in order to settle the case out of court. Many lawsuits are settled before they go to trial. However, in the event that the case does go to trial, the lawyer may provide representation and present an argument in court.

Source: Queen's Printer of British Columbia, "Family Compensation Act", October 07, 2014

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