Family Compensation Damages Limited to Wrongful Death

Family Compensation Damages Limited to Wrongful Death

BC families are precluded from recovering damages for harm caused to a family member unless the family member actually dies as per the provisions of the Family Compensation act.

In Henry v Province of British Columbia, 2016 BCSC 1038  Chief Justice Hinkson stated:

‘ Neither of Mr. Henry’s daughters have a right of action for damages for loss of love, guidance and affection, because the harm caused to Mr. Henry did not result in his death.

This principle was explained by Mr. Justice Macfarlane, for the Court, in Porpaczy (Guardian ad litem of) v. Truitt, [1990] B.C.J. No. 2018 (C.A.) [Porpaczy]. There, Macfarlane J.A. approved of the following passage from the trial judgment:

In British Columbia, compensation to family members can only be awarded if the injuries to a person result in death. The Family Compensation Act, R.S.B.C. 1979, c. 120, states this in s. 3. In the case of a severely brain damaged person totally unable to carry on a normal family role, one might be tempted, by analogy to the statute, to award compensation to another family member. In Dhaliwal v. Morrisette (1981), 32 B.C.L.R. 225 at 227, Munroe J. was “of the opinion that no logical distinction can or should be drawn between the death of a mother and her being rendered physically and mentally incapable of raising her child in a normal fashion”. He awarded the infant plaintiff the sum of $5,000 for loss of care and guidance of his mother. With respect, I feel I am bound by the decision of the British Columbia Court of Appeal in Beecham, [Beecham v. Hughes (1988), 27 B.C.L.R. (2d) 1] supra, and by the express provisions of the Family Compensation Act.”

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