In a fatal motor vehicle collision in Alberta, you should contact your own car insurance company for payment of part of the funeral costs. There is a contractual provision under Section B of the Alberta Standard Automobile Policy which provides that your car insurance company must automatically pay $5,000.00 towards the funeral costs. There are other benefits available under the Section B or no fault section of your policy in a fatal accident case which are beyond the scope of this article.
Funeral & Burial Cost
$5,000.00 towards the cost of a funeral and burial will usually be insufficient unless there is a cremation. There are so many considerations related to funeral and burial costs such as the type of casket, casket liner, vault, cemetery plot, grave marker, etc. In the case of a burial, embalming is an additional cost, plus dressing, a viewing, vehicles required, services of a celebrant and the list goes on. As far as a cost range, in the case of a traditional burial, it can start at around $5,000.00, but can quite easily amount to a cost of $15,000.00
As a very general guide a cremation is likely to cost a quarter of the cost of a burial. A simple, direct cremation in Canada can start at around $600.00, whereas a cremation with a service, and extra disbursements (obituary notice, viewing, funeral flowers, etc), may cost in the region of $4,500.00
Thus, unless you proceed with a cremation, a $5,000.00 contribution from your own car or truck insurance company will be insufficient. Other sources of recovery include the Worker’s Compensation Board if the deceased was on the job at the time. As well, if the deceased was an innocent victim, then a civil lawsuit may be brought by a fatal accident lawyer against the party at fault for the collision and then his or her auto insurance company must pay the balance of the funeral costs, whatever that amount is as long as the amount is reasonable. In other words, there is no limit on the amount of the funeral costs, burial and monument costs that the negligent driver’s auto insurance company must pay, over and above the $5,000.00 you receive from your own insurance company, as long as those costs are reasonable.
Recover Funeral Cost From A Motor Vehicle Collision
Therefore, what you do is have your auto insurance company pay the $5,000.00 benefit to the funeral home directly. You can pay the funeral home the balance in full and provide the receipt to your fatal accident lawyer, who will add this cost to the claim against the negligent driver’s (drunk driver, speeding driver, running a red light) auto insurance company.
This civil lawsuit claim also involves several other “heads of damages” in a fatal accident situation where there is a third party or another driver at fault. This also applies to a single vehicle collision if the deceased was a passenger as a claim may be brought against the driver of that vehicle at fault and that driver’s auto insurance company must pay these funeral costs along with other claims in a fatal accident lawsuit. Legal representation is required as these other “heads of damages” are complex and large and the only way you will receive a fair settlement from the auto insurance company – who is not obligated to give you legal advice – is to hire an experienced fatal accident lawyer.
Brent L. Handel, Q.C.