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Family Compensation Act

[RSBC 1996] CHAPTER 126

Contents
1Definitions
2Action for death by wrongful act, neglect or default
3Procedures for bringing action
4Contents of notice of civil claim
5Action may be brought against estate of deceased person
6Only one action

Definitions

1  In this Act:

"child" includes

(a) a person to whom the deceased stood in the role of a parent, and

(b) a person whose stepparent was the deceased;

"parent" includes a grandparent and a stepparent;

"person" means a natural person;

"spouse" means a person who

(a) was married to the deceased at the time of death, or

(b) lived with the deceased in a marriage-like relationship, for a period of at least 2 years ending no earlier than one year before the death;

"stepparent" includes a person who lives with the parent of a child as the spouse of the parent for a period of not less than 2 years and who contributes to the support of the child for not less than one year.

Action for death by wrongful act, neglect or default

2  If the death of a person is caused by wrongful act, neglect or default, and the act, neglect or default is such as would, if death had not resulted, have entitled the party injured to maintain an action and recover damages for it, any person, partnership or corporation which would have been liable if death had not resulted is liable in an action for damages, despite the death of the person injured, and although the death has been caused under circumstances that amount in law to an indictable offence.

Procedures for bringing action

3  (1) The action must be for the benefit of the spouse, parent or child of the person whose death has been caused, and must be brought by and in the name of the personal representative of the deceased.

(2) The court or jury may give damages proportioned to the injury resulting from the death to the parties respectively for whose benefit the action has been brought.

(3) The amount recovered, after deducting any costs not recovered from the defendant, must be divided among the parties in shares as the court or jury by their judgment or verdict directs.

(4) If there is no personal representative of the deceased, or, there is a personal representative but no action has been brought within 6 months after the death of the deceased person by the personal representative, the action may be brought by and in the name or names of all or any of the persons for whose benefit the action would have been if it had been brought by the personal representative.

(5) Every action brought must be for the benefit of the same person or persons as if it were brought in the name of the personal representative.

(6) If a defendant in any action desires to pay money into court in satisfaction, the defendant may pay the money into court in one sum as compensation to all persons entitled to recover damages in the action, without specifying the shares into which, or the parties among whom, it is to be divided under this Act.

(7) If the money is not accepted and an issue is taken by the plaintiff as to its sufficiency, and the court or jury finds it sufficient, the defendant is entitled to a verdict on that issue.

(8) In assessing damages any money paid or payable on the death of the deceased under any contract of assurance or insurance must not be taken into account.

(9) In an action brought under this Act, damages may also be awarded for any of the following expenses if the expenses have been incurred by any of the parties for whom and for whose benefit the action is brought:

(a) any medical or hospital expenses which would have been recoverable as damages by the person injured if death had not ensued;

(b) reasonable expenses of the funeral and the disposal of the remains of the deceased person.

Contents of notice of civil claim

4  In the action the notice of civil claim must contain the names, addresses and occupations of the person or persons for whose benefit the action is brought.

Action may be brought against estate of deceased person

5  (1) If any person dies who would have been liable in an action for damages under this Act had the person continued to live, then, whether the person died before or after or at the same time as the person whose death was caused by wrongful act, neglect or default, an action may be brought and maintained, or, if pending, may be continued, against the personal representative of the deceased.

(2) The damages and costs recovered in the action are payable out of the estate of the deceased in the same order of administration as the simple contract debts of the deceased.

(3) If there is no personal representative of the deceased appointed in British Columbia within 3 months after the death, the court may, on the application of a party intending to bring or continue the action, and on notice, if any, to other parties either specially or generally by public advertisement as the court directs, appoint a representative of the estate of the deceased person for the intended or pending action and to act as defendant in it.

(4) The action brought or continued against the representative appointed and all proceedings in it bind the estate of the deceased in all respects as if a duly constituted personal representative of the deceased were a party to the action.

Only one action

6  Only one action may be brought for the same subject matter.