The Case For A New Wrongful Death Act In BC

Many groups are lobbying for a change to BC wrongful death legislation. This article discusses some of the issues involved in this very emotional area of law.

Should someone die as a result of someone’s negligence, their immediate family is entitled to sue for damages under the BC Family Compensation Act.

The Family Compensation Act limits the amount of damages available. The award is limited to the financial contribution the deceased provided to his/her family. There is nothing awarded for grief or solace.  Very little is awarded for the loss of a child, making pursuing medical malpractice cases in these instances non-economic.

Many groups and individuals are trying to have this legislation changed, as they deem it very unfair for families who have lost a loved one. They want the province to repeal the Family Compensation Act, and amend the Estate Administration Act, which together prevent damages from being awarded in wrongful death suits in cases where the victim was a child, or not a breadwinner. Some are suggesting a Wrongful Death Accountability Act that would extend the ability of family members to sue for the loss of all loved ones, regardless of age or earning capacity.

The quest by many organizations for new wrongful death legislation in BC gained attention and momentum after the families of the “Wrongful Death Law Reform Group” gathered in downtown Vancouver this past fall to renew their call for a new Wrongful Death Act. The event earned an enormous amount of attention from major media outlets, which played out on TV, radio and newspapers (including the cover of the Province for Sunday, September 25, 2011).

Two days later, a major daily paper devoted its main editorial in support of the cause. The movement has been bolstered recently by the creation (by the organizations involved) of an all-encompassing draft entitled the Wrongful Death Accountability Act (WDAA), which provides a comprehensive blueprint for positive changes.

So far the BC provincial government does not have the appetite to change the status quo.

This link takes you to the current BC Family Compensation Act:

This link brings you to an overview of the campaign to amend the legislation, which includes links to the proposed WDAA and an explanatory file:

Go here to send a message to Premier Christy Clark, to show your support for the families involved and this important cause:

A video clip from event day – ‘renewing the call, BC Needs a Wrongful Death Act’ can be accessed from TLABC’s YouTube channel:

Paul Mitchell, a BC personal injury lawyer who has extensive experience with severe injury claims, including brain injury claims, spinal injury claims, death claims, ICBC claims, medical malpractice claims, and other catastrophic injury claims.

Paul has successfully concluded BC medical malpractice cases for amounts up to 3.5 million in individual cases.

He acts for injured clients all over BC and Alberta, and will not act for ICBC or any other insurance company.
For more information on this article, or for a confidential discussion of your injury claim, contact Paul Mitchell, Q.C. at 250-869-1115 (direct line), or send him a confidential email at [email protected]

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