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Our litigation team wins a historic wrongful death verdict.

DBM Law Blog

A B.C. Supreme Court judge has awarded the parents of a teenager who was about to graduate high school $327,635 in compensation after he was hit and killed by a vehicle at a crosswalk in Nanaimo, B.C.

As reported by the CBC, our clients won a record verdict for damages following the tragic death of their 17-year-old only son. Under common law, there is no claim by a parent or child of a victim per se. In BC, the Family Compensation Act allows a parent or child of a deceased victim to claim monetary damages, but only on the basis that the survivor has lost “care, guidance and support.” Young children who lose parents have been able to prove substantial damages based on the loss of parental earnings that would have supported them growing up. However, the opposite has been true of parents who lose a child, since the lawsuit must prove the child would have paid the parents money. In North America, parents often financially support their children into adulthood and beyond, with little money flowing the other way. Many court awards have yielded tiny amounts to parents. However, the Kim et al vs Murdoch decision recognizes the strong tradition in Korea of filial piety known as “hyodo.” The victim’s parents in our case proved they had provided cash support, paid holidays and even a home to their parents, out of their sense of obligation and gratitude; a tradition that goes back centuries. Since they had left good jobs and pensions behind and moved the victim to Canada for a better future, the judge found the victim would have paid them 20% of his income, had he not been tragically killed in a crosswalk, walking home from school. As a pointed postscript, the article points out that under BC’s new no-fault auto insurance legislation, wrongful death claims of all kinds are limited to $16,000.

Media coverage of this case be found here:


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