Amendment to the Fatal Accidents Act19-Apr-13
April 19, 2013
Section 8 of the Fatal Accidents Act (“FAA”) enables parents, children, and the spouse of a deceased person killed by a wrongdoer to receive compensation. The FAA requires a court to award damages for “grief and loss of guidance, care and companionship of the deceased person” without reference to any other award, and without evidence of damage.
Since 2002 the entitlement under the FAA has been as follows:
- $75,000 to the parent or parents of the deceased person to be divided equally if the action is brought for the benefit of both parents;
- $75,000 to the spouse or adult interdependent partner (must be residing together at the time of death); and
- $45,000 to each child of the deceased person.
Pursuant to section 9 of the FAA, the Provincial Government must review the adequacy of these damages every five years. In 2012, the Alberta Ministry of Justice and the Solicitor General invited the public to participate in determining whether the damages needed amending. The Honourable Minister Jonathan Denis recommended an increase in a report to the Alberta Legislative Assembly.
The Alberta Cabinet has since passed a regulation to increase the damages as follows:
- $82,000 to the parent or parents of the deceased person to be divided equally if the action is brought for the benefit of both parents;
- $82,000 to the spouse or adult interdependent partner (must be residing together at the time of death); and
- $49,000 to each child of the deceased person.
The new regulation comes into force on May 1, 2013 and only applies to actions in which the deceased person died on or after May 1, 2013.
These new figures will remain in place for five years, barring legislative intervention. The changes do not represent an adjustment based strictly on inflation. This is unlike the Minor Injury Regulation crafted under the Insurance Act which changes every year in line with the rate of inflation.
This alert is a general overview of the subject matter and cannot be regarded as legal advice. Please contact Sandra Weber or Jennifer Biernaskie, or any other member of our Insurance Practice Group for further advice on this or any other Insurance Law matter.