Mom fights for parents’ right to sue
“Currently, families have the right to sue for wrongful death of a child, or a retired or disabled person, but they could go bankrupt paying court costs in return for nominal damages.” — Don Renaud, Burnaby personal injury lawyer, quoted in the Times Colonist.
On September 13, 1997, a drunk driver smashed his way through a crowd of over 100 teenagers in an area of South Surrey known as Stokes Pit. Seventeen people were injured and two deaths occurred as a result of this accident. One girl, aged 17, died instantly at the scene from massive head trauma; and Heidi Klompas, age 17, died three and a half weeks later in Royal Columbian Hospital.
Heidi’s death triggered investigations from the Coroner’s Office and the BC Children’s Commission. They both found that Heidi did not die as a direct result of her initial injuries from being struck by the car (two broken shinbones), but instead she died as a result of medical errors. Both reports suggested her death was unnecessary and tragically preventable.
Heidi’s mother, Catherine Adamson, and lawyer Don Renaud are founding members of the BC Wrongful Death Law Reform Society. They advocate for changes to the BC Family Compensation Act so that families may seek justice for the wrongful deaths of loved ones.