Dependency Claims for Fatal Accidents

When a person dies as a result of the negligence of another, their estate generally does not have any surviving claim for financial losses. However, family members who were dependent on the income and services of the deceased may have claims for the losses they have suffered, over and above the general damages they may receive for loss of care, guidance and companionship.

For example, if a 30 year old husband and father of two young children died as a result of a car accident, his wife and children may be entitled to damages for loss of family income and loss of services. Assuming the husband would have retired at age 65, the surviving spouse expected a portion of some 35 further years of her husband’s income, as well as ongoing assistance with housekeeping, home maintenance, financial services and other typical family services for many more years. Similarly, the deceased’s children could have expected their father’s ongoing financial support to a reasonable age, as well as his assistance around the house. Each of these dependent family members would be entitled to compensation for their losses of family income and services from the auto insurer of the at-fault driver.

In summary, a person who has lost a close family member on whom they were dependent for income and services may have a claim for damages for those losses.

About the Authors


Adam Little earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Toronto in 1996. He graduated from Queen’s University Faculty of Law in 2000 and was called to the bar in 2002. Adam was practicising on Bay Street for a leading Toronto litigation firm that represented doctors in medical malpractice claims when he realized that helping people through personal injury litigation was what he wanted to do. “I wanted to work for the best,” he said. A partner at Oatley Vigmond had written the best-known book available about addressing jury trials, which Adam had read and admired. He wrote to the partner, went through an intense interview process and became a partner at the firm in 2005.

To learn more about Adam, please click here.