The Shafia parents could claim compensation for the deaths of their family members, even if a court finds them guilty of killing them.Former justice minister Marc Bellemare says Quebec’s no-fault system means the SAAQ would consider the event an accident.
“Daily, they compensate people committing a crime. Murder or any kind of crime in a car is compensated.” The auto insurance specialist says the Shafias could ask for more than 300 thousand dollars for the deaths of a wife and three children.
Bellemare says those convicted of drunk driving receive compensation on a regular basis. For example, Bellemare points to a case a few years ago when a man from the Victoriaville region killed his son while driving three times over the legal limit.
“He was convicted for a criminal accident, but he was compensated for the death of his son, even though he was criminally responsible for his death.”
But some other legal experts say the case isn’t clear.
Robert Tétrault, a professor with the University of Sherbrooke, says the SAAQ could argue that the claimants had severed family ties with the victims, or that the use of a car was not a factor in the deaths.
Tétrault gives one example of a person who stopped his car on railway tracks, waited for a train to arrive, and was killed.
“In that situation they said that it was not a car accident,” he says. “It was not the use of the automobile that was at the origin of the death. The car was merely the location where the death occurred.”