Fatal Accident In Whitby and a discussion about the law on wrongful death car accident lawsuits in Ontario
In August 2012, a story was published in the Toronto Star about a car accident that occurred at the intersection of Centre Street South and Dunlop Street in Whitby Ontario. Unfortunately, an 89 year old pedestrian was reported to have been hit at the intersection by a minivan. The pedestrian was 89 years old, was pinned under the car and dragged for about 100 feet. The minivan’s 75 year old driver was reported to be from the Whitby area as well. There is a senior’s home close by as well.
Residents were reported to have said that they see at least one motor vehicle accident every month at the intersection (this has not been verified by anything that I have seen). The area is quite close to the Go station, which apparently makes it very busy in the morning and evenings. Some of the residents were reported to be complaining that there isn’t a four way stop or speed bumps in the area. Residents said that no-one stops at the stop signs in the area because they are in a rush to get to and from the Go Station. This of course raises the question about whether a four way stop would have made a difference here (if some drivers just don’t drive properly, then that’s more about their driving habits).
It’s not entirely clear whether the article will cause the area to be changed or lead to further review. Since the time of the article, there has not been any news about whether the pedestrian’s family has brought a lawsuit for compensation for this fatal car accident. In Ontario, family members are entitled to bring an action for compensation if a family member dies, or is injured, as a result of an accident. Family members are entitled to claim for losses of care, guidance, companionship, losses of services and for pecuniary losses, such as losses of income. The claim for damages by a family member has limits for certain categories and the claim has to be structured correctly.
A claim for a fatal car accident must (in ordinary circumstances) be commenced within two years of the date of the accident. There are numerous steps that need to be taken in advance of the action and interested parties should consult with a lawyer well in advance of the two year mark. There are even some benefits that could be payable to family members before a lawsuit – whether or not the deceased was at fault. The car accident insurance company would likely also pay for therapy for the family of the victim through the “accident benefits system” (no fault benefits system). They could also sue; in Ontario there are two parts to these claims – the no-fault benefits part and then the lawsuit part. If the pedestrian or family do not have car insurance, they could still claim for the first part (the accident benefits) through the driver’s car insurance. If the driver did not have insurance, then a claim could be made through other means including an application to a special motor vehicle accident claims fund that the Ontario government provides.