Under the Road Victims Compensation Law, a person injured or killed in a car accident is entitled to receive compensation only from an insurer, regardless of who was responsible for the accident (ie, the no-fault system).1
The amount of compensation and entitlement thereto is specified in the law. In the case of death, the deceased's dependants are entitled to receive compensation for the loss of the financial support that they would have received from the deceased.
In a recent decision, the District Court examined the Road Victims Compensation Law's scope with regard to a deceased's adult children. This update will examine the questions of whether there is an age limit and which children are considered to be dependants under the law.
In KG v The Pool Insurance Company (CA 21953), the estate and dependants of the deceased, who was killed in a road accident, filed a claim based on the Road Victims Compensation Law. The dispute between the parties concerned the scope of damage. The main question that the court analysed was whether the deceased's adult children were dependants.
In May 2012 a 62-year-old man died as a result of a car accident, leaving his wife and two adult children aged 38 (a psychologist) and 30 (an electronics engineer). According to the law, only dependants are entitled to compensation.
The deceased's children argued that they were dependants and thus entitled to receive compensation under the Road Victims Compensation Law.
The children argued that even though they were not minors and earned a regular income from their jobs, they should be considered dependants, as the deceased had provided them with constant financial support until his death.
The respondent (the insurer) claimed that the plaintiffs could not be considered dependants since they were not minors and had independent lives and careers.
The definition of a 'dependant' is a child who lacks the ability to support himself or herself independently and relies on his or her parents for financial support.
The financial benefit granted by a parent to his or her child, whether monetary or in kind, when the child is financially independent (eg, financing studies or weddings, helping with purchasing or renting property and looking after grandchildren) does not indicate an independent child's monetary dependence on his or her parents.
The court denied the claim and ruled that even though the Road Victims Compensation Law does not define a 'dependant' as a minor, adult children are generally not considered to be dependants. The court will consider adult children as dependants only in rare circumstances based on evidence proving actual dependence and a lack of financial independence.
(1) FC 21953-10-12.
This article was first published by the International Law Office.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.