By Brent L. Handel Q.C.
Everyone is well aware that women outlive men; in fact, the average is now nearly five years, 81.2 years for women versus 76.4 years for men. Yet because men earn more money, women are less prepared for this eventuality. Nearly half of women say their ability to make mortgage payments, pay college tuition, and pay bills would be negatively affected by the death of their spouse. This compares to just 37 percent of men who said their ability to make payments would be negatively affected by the death of their spouse.
In a motor vehicle collision when there is a sudden death of a male spouse the financial consequences come home fairly quickly. Although statistics indicate most people have life insurance, only 63 percent know the terms of their spouse’s policy such as the amount payable. Terribly, one in four couples have no life insurance at all, equally terrible, only two percent of couples surveyed had one million dollars or more of life insurance which is an amount they would need as a minimum. Nearly half of spouses in a survey carry coverage of $100,000 or less.
As a fatal accident law firm we see this all the time with fatal motor-vehicle collisions, the life insurance the surviving spouse has is insufficient which makes it all the more important to contact legal counsel if your spouse was killed by a drunk driver or a speeding driver or another driver who was at fault. As the surviving widow or widower, you have a claim for the loss of dependency on your deceased spouse’s income, among other claims. So in other words you can claim the income that your spouse would have made had he not been killed in the accident by the driver at fault. This is a fundamental right.
Unfortunately, there is a wide-spread practice in Alberta that Alberta auto insurance companies do not inform widows or widowers of all of their rights to compensation – this is tragic and outrageous! Contact our law firm and we would be pleased to give you some free advice about what you should and should not do after the tragic loss of a spouse in a motor-vehicle collision.
Handel Law Firm is Alberta’s serious personal injury and fatal accident law firm serving the communities of Red Deer, Fort McMurray and Grande Prairie.