All You Need to Know about Wrongful Death Claim in Ontario

Wrongful Death Doctor talk and patient medical working at offi


It’s never easy to cope with the loss of a loved one, especially when their passing was a result of another person or entity’s negligent or intentional actions. In such instances, the deceased’s family may seek compensation for their losses by pursuing a wrongful death claim. If you reside in Ontario and are contemplating initiating a wrongful death claim, it’s vital to comprehend the legal framework governing such claims in the province.

What Is a Wrongful Death Claim?

Legally speaking, a wrongful death claim pertains to a legal action initiated by surviving family members of a deceased individual whose demise was caused by the deliberate or negligent actions of another person. The primary objective of such a claim is to recover compensation for the family’s losses, which may include financial losses and emotional distress caused by the death.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Ontario?

In Ontario, the Family Law Act sets out who can file a wrongful death claim. Generally, the claim can be brought by the deceased person’s spouse, children, grandchildren, parents, grandparents, siblings, or any other person who was dependent on the deceased for support or care.

What Damages Can Be Recovered in a Wrongful Death Claim?

There are several types of damages that can be recovered in a wrongful death claim in Ontario, including:

  • Loss of financial support: The death of the main breadwinner in a family can substantially affect their financial circumstances. The family is entitled to pursue compensation for the deceased individual’s potential income that would have been earned if they had not passed away.
  • Funeral expenses: Reasonable funeral and burial expenses can be claimed by the family of the deceased individual.
  • Loss of guidance and companionship: The family may pursue compensation for the loss of guidance, companionship, and care provided by the deceased person.
  • Loss of household services: If the deceased person provided household services such as cleaning, cooking, or childcare, the family can seek compensation for the value of those services.
  • Mental anguish and emotional distress: The family is entitled to pursue compensation for the emotional anguish and suffering they have undergone as a consequence of the loss.
  • Punitive damages: On occasions, the court may grant punitive damages as a penalty to the individual or entity responsible for the death, aiming to discourage similar misconduct in the future.

What Is the Statute of Limitations for Filing a Wrongful Death Claim in Ontario?

According to Ontario law, the statute of limitations for commencing a wrongful death claim is two years from the date of the deceased individual’s demise. It’s critical to be aware that failing to meet this deadline may result in the claim being dismissed.

Who Can Be Held Liable in a Wrongful Death Claim?

There are several parties that can be held liable in a wrongful death claim, including:

  • Individuals: If an individual’s negligent or intentional actions led to the death, that person may be deemed accountable and held liable.
  • Corporations: If the death was caused by the actions of a corporation, the corporation can be held liable.
  • Government entities: If the death was caused by the actions of a government entity, such as a police department or a hospital, the entity can be held liable.

What Is the Process for Filing a Wrongful Death Claim in Ontario?

Initiating a wrongful death claim in Ontario can be a complex procedure, and it’s vital to collaborate with a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer like to receive proper guidance. The process usually encompasses the following steps:

  • Gathering evidence: To support the claim, the family and their attorney will collect evidence, such as medical records, witness accounts, and other documents related to the death.
  • Filing the claim: Once the evidence has been gathered, the family’s lawyer will file the claim with the court.
  • Discovery: Both sides will engage in a process called discovery, during which they will exchange evidence and information related to the claim.
  • Negotiation: Once discovery is complete, the parties may engage in negotiation to try to reach a settlement.
  • Trial: If a settlement cannot be reached, the case will proceed to trial, during which a judge or jury will assess the evidence and render a final decision.
  • Appeal: If either party is unhappy with the outcome of the trial, they may have the right to appeal the decision.

It’s essential to understand that each wrongful death claim is distinct, and the procedure may differ based on the individual circumstances of the case.


Losing a loved one due to another person’s negligent or deliberate actions can be a traumatic experience, and filing a wrongful death claim in Ontario can be a complex and daunting task. Nevertheless, by collaborating with a proficient personal injury lawyer who is familiar with the process, you can obtain the compensation you are entitled to and hold the liable party accountable for their behaviour.

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