Nova Scotia Personal Injury Claims: Compensation for Fatal Injuries

by John McKiggan

How Do You Put a Price on the Loss of a Loved One?

I have already posted about how the courts calculate compensation for pain and suffering. But what happens if your family member died from their injuries?

There is no way to truly place a dollar value on the loss of a loved one due to a fatal injury. Law makers in Canada and the courts have struggled with the question of how to fairly compensate surviving family members for the loss of a loved one.

American Claims Very Different Than Canada

Many of us have read news reports of cases in the United States where surviving family members have been awarded huge sums of money for the death of a family member. Unfortunately, the laws in Canada regarding compensation for fatal injuries are very different, and compensation awards rarely reach the levels seen in American cases.

Different in Each Province

Each province in Canada has laws governing claims for compensation for fatal injuries. The laws allow a claim to be made by the family members of a deceased person where his or her death is caused by an intentional or negligent act.

Financial Losses Covered

Originally claims for compensation were limited to the monetary losses suffered as a result of the fatal injury. In other words, the actual out of pocket financial loss resulting from the person’s death.

No Compensation for Grief

The law does not take into account non-financial losses like the grief and sorrow experienced by family members.
Compensation for Loss of Companionship

Currently every province in Canada has legislation that allows certain family members to recover some measure of compensation for the loss of care, guidance and companionship that the deceased family member would have provided had they not passed away.

It is important to remember that each province has its own specific law with special rules governing which family members are entitled to make a claim, how the claims are to be assessed, and the amount of damages that can be recovered.

Who Can Make a Claim?

In any claim involving a fatal injury it is important that you speak to an experienced personal injury lawyer to determine which family members are eligible to make a claim for compensation and to ensure that their claim for compensation is properly calculated.

For example, in Nova Scotia, claims for loss of care, guidance and companionship can only be brought by parents, grandparents, children and spouses (including common law). Siblings (brothers and sisters) are not entitled to file a claim for compensation!

Every Case is Different

The amount of compensation that can be recovered in Nova Scotia depends a great deal on the nature of the relationship and the facts of each particular case. If you are considering filing a claim for compensation for the loss of a loved one it is vitally important that you speak to an experienced personal injury lawyer to ensure that all of the relevant facts and evidence are provided to the court to ensure that you receive full and fair compensation.

I have been representing victims of serious personal injuries for 18 years. I wrote The Consumers Guide to Car Accident Claims in Nova Scotia and The Consumers Guide to Medical Malpractice Claims in Canada to help injured victims get fair compensation.

You can get a free copy of either the book by contacting me through this blog, visiting my website at or by calling me toll free at 1-877-423-2050.

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