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Different Categories of Damages in a Wrongful Death Case

Throughout Canada, when an individual is injured due to a personal injury that is a result of the negligence of another party, damages are meant to help that individual return to the life they had before the injury. In the case of wrongful death, there is no monetary compensation that can recoup the loss of life, but there are specific damages that can be claimed when filing a lawsuit against the negligent party.

Get legal help in filing your wrongful death claim in Alberta — talk to a wrongful death lawyer today.

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Even though all provinces in Canada have pretty much the same outlines when it comes to defining damages in personal injury and wrongful death, each province can have a slightly different definition. When it comes to wrongful death damages Alberta operates under what is referred to as common law tradition, which is the most common. Two different categories of damages in a wrongful death case exist that you should know about.

Pecuniary Damages

For pecuniary wrongful death damages Alberta recognizes any loss that has an actual economic value that is easy to assume with facts, stats and figures. A few examples of pecuniary damages would include things like:

  • Medical bills acquired after the accident but before the death
  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Loss of that individual’s income for the rest of their expected life span
  • Costs associated with travel due to the injury before your loved one lost their life
  • Money that will have to be paid for services because of the loss, such as home maintenance and repairs
  • Costs associated with caring for the individual, such as lost wages of the caregiver

For example, if your spouse lost their life due to the negligence of someone else and you filed a wrongful death claim, you would lose their income as a member of the household. This number can be easy to assume; you would estimate how many working years the individual had left and then multiply that by their expected earning potential.

Non-Pecuniary Damages

Non-pecuniary damages are not as easy to place a number on because they are less concrete and more proverbial. The precise definition of non-pecuniary damages is as follows:

Pro Tip

“Damages which are not readily quantified or valued in money, such as proposed compensation for pain and suffering.

A few examples of non-pecuniary damages would be suing for the loss of companionship, the loss guidance for your children, or the loss of direct care that person would have provided as a member of the family. Since there is no set dollar amount for non-pecuniary damages, there are limitations in place in Alberta regarding how much can be paid out. Lawyers will use this information and your personal situation to determine how much in damages should be sought.


Learn about the different categories of damages in wrongful death cases by talking to a personal injury lawyer from Diamond & Diamond Law today.

Talk to an Alberta Wrongful Death Lawyer About Damages

No amount of money will bring back your loved one, but settlements received with a personal injury claim can help you get back to living a more normal life. Reach out to a wrongful death lawyer in Alberta to find out more about the two different categories of damages that will affect your claim.


Personal injury damages that compensate the claimant for things like wages, medical bills and loss of consortium are not taxed, providing they come from a physical sickness or personal injury.

Pecuniary compensation is damages that have a specific monetary amount associated with them. For example, property damage, medical bills and loss of wages all constitute pecuniary damages. Winning claimants will be awarded compensation for the specified amount.

Non-pecuniary damages do not have a quantifiable amount of money attached to them and are usually for things like emotional distress and pain and suffering.

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