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. »