Road Accident: How Family Act Law Can Help



Automobile accidents are a tragic occurrence that unfortunately happens just about non-stop around the world. Everybody thinks about what the driver must be going through, but thanks to the Family Law Act in Ontario spouses and dependents of those involved in an accident can seek damages against the offending party. This law has been in place since 1990 and served mainly to make a more tightly knit family unit as well as give all parties the opportunity to have their voices heard. Before the law, just the person who was struck by an at-fault driver would be reasonably eligible for damages. With this Act, direct family members have the right to seek out damages for both tangible and intangible items/quality of life lost as a result of the accident.


The way the law is written it might not seem very clear cut as to what you’re entitled to, so I’ll be taking the time to properly explain what kind of damages can be sought under the Family Law Act.

Who Is Covered?

Jeffrey Preszler from the Preszler Law Firm explains that the Family Law Act passed in Ontario gives the right for the children, spouse, or relatives of a victim in a car accident to seek damages against the party at fault for the accident. Any of these parties can bring a civil suit forward for damages they incurred as a result of the accident hurting their loved one. The offending party needs to be at fault for the case to actually the light of a courtroom, however.



Change In Lifestyle

Let’s say that a couple lives together and one is the main breadwinner who goes to work consistently while the other works intermittently while managing domestic things and taking care of the children. If an automobile accident results in the loss of income flow from the breadwinning partner, changes will have to be made within the home. The able-bodied partner is likely to need to get a job and invest in daycare for the children. All associated costs due to this change in lifestyle can be sought as damages against the other party if they were at fault. The same applies if the primary caretaker of the elderly or infirm is killed in an accident and new accommodations will have to be made for the person in need.

What Kind Of Damages Are Covered?

The types of damages covered include both pecuniary and non-pecuniary matters. Pecuniary claims are very easily valued & quantified. For instance if you lost $100, that's pecuniary loss of $100 since the value of the bill is straightforward and agreed upon by the public. Nonpecuniary claims involve things that certainly exist but are difficult to quantify in a dollar amount either because they are abstract concepts (pain & suffering) or otherwise hard to value concepts. There are limits to how much can be sought in non-pecuniary claims to discourage frivolous lawsuits where the extent of the accident’s effect on the family is artificially inflated in hopes of a bigger payout. No true limit was set, but damages exceeding $100,000 were considered more or less as high as these things should go, pending special circumstances.


What’s normally sought after in these cases are the actual, directly attributable bills like hospital bills, money spent on medication/prosthetics, or car damage. Also frequently sought after in court is that the offending party pay all funeral expenses reasonably incurred. Finally, any travel bills for visiting the injured person can be reimbursed, as well as any lost income or lost guidance, support, and love from the person who is currently out of commission. 


The Family Law Act functions spectacularly at helping families regain their footing after the decimating effects of a road accident to better shoulder the burden caused by such a traumatic event. It is very true that when one person gets hurt physically many who know them get hurt mentally. If true accountability is the aim of the Ontario legal system, having to answer for the damages suffered to that person’s family is a fantastic way of blazing that trail. Because of the wide range of possible damages & extent of payment required, many firms spend significant amounts of time what makes for the most compelling claims to best learn how to structure future cases for their clients. It isn’t welfare, it isn’t a payoff, it’s simple remuneration for irreparably damaging a family & their ways of life. It really shines in that now some families with very skimpy life insurance programs can seek damages through an alternate route.