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.