Survivorship Bias – The Wrongfully Killed in BC Tell No Stories…

Survivorship bias or survival bias is the logical error of concentrating on the people or things that made it past some selection process and overlooking those that did not, typically because of their lack of visibility. This can lead to false conclusions in several different ways. It is a form of selection bias.

In British Columbia, unlike the other provinces and the Yukon who have already modernized their wrongful death legislation, only the wrongfully killed who were breadwinners that had dependents have worth under the law. This is based on a percentage of their future lost income. For everyone else, especially vulnerable members of society such children, seniors, and the disabled, their lives are worthless under the present law in BC. Accordingly, the surviving families are never able to access justice, hold wrongdoers accountable, and see future deterrent mechanisms put in place, to prevent wrongful deaths of the same cause from happening in the future.

This is a form of survivorship bias, meaning only those who are merely injured will ever see their day in court, leaving countless lives lost by wrongful act causing death unaccounted for. As a result, more people will continue to die the same way.

BC Wrongful Death Law Reform Society

Heidi Klompas

Take for example the story of 17 year old Heidi Klompas from Langley, who had both her legs broken after being hit by a drunk driver. The doctors delayed surgery, which caused a fat embolism, followed by another series of preventable medical errors, ultimately resulting in her death. 19 years later, 16 year old Lindsey Kean in Nanaimo had her leg broken in a car accident. Her surgery was also delayed, causing a fat embolism (a preventable medical error), and as a result tragically died as well. Had Heidi’s Mother, Catherine Adamson been able to seek justice for Heidi, then perhaps corrective retraining measures could have been undertaken to ensure doctors across the board were retrained accordingly. This could have saved Lindsey’s life 19 years later. Some might argue that “money doesn’t bring your loved one back”, but money is however the only unit of measurement that people universally keep track of. When applied in legal penalty, will as a result incentivize policy change, and deter future wrongful actions of the same kind.

Lindsey Kean pictured (middle)


Watch the video to learn more about the concept of survivorship bias.


Please petition your MLA to make your voice heard in supporting the modernization of our wrongful death laws in BC»


About the BC Wrongful Death Law Reform Society

‘In Their Name’ is the campaign of ‘The BC Wrongful Death Law Reform Society’ – a BC registered non-profit organization comprised of volunteer families who have lost a loved one to wrongful death in BC and were denied access to justice. In response to the biggest human rights issue facing the province today, our goal is to modernize British Columbia’s antiquated wrongful death legislation, which predates confederation (1846). Under current legislation, the value of a human life is measured only by the deceased’s future lost income, so long as they had dependents.

As a result of the province’s antiquated law, access to justice has been denied to the families of the wrongfully killed who do not meet this discriminatory criteria. This has affected especially vulnerable groups, namely children, seniors, the disabled, and anyone without dependents when they are killed by the negligent or intentional acts of another.

BC is presently the last of all the provinces, yet to have undertaken this critical legislative modernization to allow for dignity, value, and protections for all its citizens under the law.

When it’s ‘free’ to kill in BC, wrongdoers are not held accountable. This lack of general deterrence holds the province back in terms of incentivizing innovation of safety measures and protocols to prevent wrongful deaths in the first place.

Here’s How You Can Get Involved…

The Premier of British Columbia, David Eby, is responsible for the modernization of BC’s wrongful death laws. Our Society provided David Eby with the drafted ‘Wrongful Death Accountability Act’ when he was acting as the Attorney General for British Columbia for 6 years between 2017-2022. The new Attorney General, Niki Sharma, also shares responsibility as she is the Minister responsible for the ‘Family Compensation Act’ – the current guiding piece of legislation that the civil courts must follow in cases of wrongful death. Minister Sharma receives feedback from the regional ‘Members of the Legislative Assembly’ (MLAs) and follows orders from the Premier, David Eby, who is ultimately responsible for modernization.

Reform is presently at a standstill, as the BC NDP government does not presently view access to justice for the surviving family members of the wrongfully killed as a priority in this province. This is despite the fact that the families behind our Society have been fighting for modernization for over two decades. And despite the fact that all other provinces, including the Yukon, have already modernized in most cases long ago.

The only way to move this forward is by creating massive public awareness and outcry for legislative modernization. Only under the scrutiny of the public and the media will our politicians be forced to take this necessary, and long overdue action.

How many more people will need to die from the same preventable wrongful actions before our politicians will do their job?

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