Wrongful Death Law Reform Group

August 28, 2009

Filed under: General Posts — wrongfuldeathreform @ 2:21 pm

Lisa Dudley was shot and died needlessly as four days elapsed before a 911 call was appropriately responded to. Her death was due to gunshots, but in the absence of negligence on the part of public responders, she would be alive today. Her family should not need to beg for a public enquiry or a coroner’s inquest. Her family should have a right to sue for damages as only they have the drive to carry proper investigation to conclusion. Another expensive public enquiry does not serve the ends of justice as there is no accountability. Only a civil trial exposes the truth to the public record and satisfies those most closely aggrieved by this needless tragedy.


August 21, 2009

Filed under: General Posts — wrongfuldeathreform @ 1:46 pm

Today the Queen of the North’s wrongful death settlement details were published. Gerald Foisy, age 46 died a wrongful death and his teenage daughters received woefully inadequate settlements based on the parsimonious state of BC’s Family Compensation Act.

If the reverse had occurred, that is if Gerald Foisy had survived the ferry sinking and his daughters had died, he would have had no right to damages therefore no meaningful right to sue at all!

BC justice anyone?

August 11, 2009

Filed under: General Posts — wrongfuldeathreform @ 10:35 am

One of the reasons there is such difficulty at the policy level for implementing appropriate Wrongful Death laws in BC is the hang-up over the amount of damages a court should award for the wrongful taking of a life.

If life has an infinite value, then what’s the value of 2 lives? Two times infinity is still infinity. Is the value of a four year old child’s life greater than that of a Clifford Olsen? Most people would say yes. Legislative attempts to put a standard value on a life, as Alberta has done with its mere $75,000 cap, is terribly unjust.

It is impossible to place perfect dollar amounts on the value of a life in death cases, just as it is impossible to do so in injury cases. However it is grossly unjust to disqualify jurors from doing so because it is a difficult task. In injury cases, once a loss has been identified there is a duty on the jury or judge to assess damages. It makes no sense for legislators to get hung-up on the point.

August 6, 2009

Filed under: General Posts — wrongfuldeathreform @ 10:35 am

People often ask why it is that cases under B.C.’s wrongful death laws are so different in principle from injury cases. In death cases scant damages are recoverable, if at all, unless the deceased had financial dependants. On the other hand, damages in injury cases are paid for past and future earnings, for out of pocket expenses such as care, and for pain and suffering.

People become especially irritated when they learn there are no restrictions on damages in defamation lawsuits. Defamation cases involving prominent citizens can fetch millions of dollars in damages. For example, former PM Brian Mulroney won a $2.1 million settlement against the Canadian government.

Our laws, rooted in our colonial past, need to be democratized. Substantial damages for injury to the reputation of a person of standing are payable. On the other hand, nothing is paid for the wrongful death of a child.

Its up to Canadian citizens to demand that the law respect the value we place on the lives of children, the elderly and the disabled.

August 5, 2009

Filed under: General Posts — wrongfuldeathreform @ 9:28 am

A thank you note to one of our organization supporters BCCPD (BC Coalition of People with Disabilities) for writing an article including Beatrice Pereira’s quote (one of our group’s members) and for continuing to give our campaign coverage in their quarterly magazine, Transition.  To read the specific article, please go to http://www.bccpd.bc.ca/publications/transitiononline.htm and download Spring 2009 edition – Page 23.

For more articles in the BCCPD, check out their campaigns section on wrongful death.

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