What is Loss of Consortium?
In personal injury law, a loss of consortium claim will compensate a spouse or another family member of an injury victim for losses related to an accident. In Florida personal injury and wrongful death suits, family members have an opportunity to seek money for many losses arising from their loved one’s injuries.
The principle behind a loss of consortium claim is that a negligent party should be responsible for a family member’s losses of companionship, affection, love, and comfort from an injured loved one.
A loss of consortium is typically only awarded in cases where the accident victim has been killed or suffers some type of severe, permanent, or long-lasting injury. These claims are available in all types of personal injury cases, including car accidents, slip and falls, medical malpractice, and more.
How Loss of Consortium Claims Are Calculated
A loss of consortium claim is typically a “general” and “non-economic” damage. A financial award can only be a general substitute for those losses suffered.
Similar examples of non-economic damages may include:
- loss of one’s reputation
- emotional distress
- a loss of companionship and society
- pain and suffering
- shock or mental anguish
- humiliation and embarrassment
These sorts of general losses, as well as the monetary value placed upon those losses, are typically left to the discretion of a judge or jury. These general damages are often hard to quantify. You may need the help of a personal injury lawyer to receive the maximum amount of compensation for your Florida loss of consortium case.
Who Can Claim Loss of Consortium?
Florida personal injury law is clear about which individuals can bring loss of consortium claims in an accident case.
Spouses or Partners
Historically speaking, only spouses were able to bring loss of consortium claims in a personal injury case. Now, most states give unmarried domestic partners the ability to file loss of consortium claims, including Florida.
Parents and Children
Some states, including Florida, also permit parents and children of an accident victim to file loss of consortium claims against a negligent party. In these circumstances, the parent or child must prove that their injured loved one can no longer provide the level of companionship, care, and affection that they could before the accident. In a loss of consortium case involving parents and children, a personal injury attorney must prove that the relationship between child and parent has been irrevocably altered due to the accident.
Florida Loss of Consortium Case Limitations
There is generally no limit on the financial compensation that a spouse or family member may receive in a loss of consortium claim in Florida. As noted earlier, to file a loss of consortium claim, your spouse or other family member needs to have suffered some substantial injury limiting your relationship.
Although an injury doesn’t necessarily need to be permanent in nature, bumps, bruises, and other minor injuries aren’t enough to claim a loss of consortium.
Factors to Consider When Filing Loss of Consortium Claims
When someone files a claim related to a loss of consortium, they should expect all intimate and personal aspects of their relationship with the injured party to be put under a microscope. If you consider a loss of consortium claim, you should be aware that you will need to withstand rigorous questioning as part of the case, both as part of deposition and during a trial.
That advice is crucial for spouses filing a loss of consortium claim against a defendant. Suppose you and your partner had suffered tribulations or hardships during your marriage before the accident that caused the injury. These hardships may include separation, infidelity, abuse, or criminal charges. In these cases, that information will be public record and may be presented to both the judge and jury.
An experienced Florida loss of consortium attorney will be able to help you determine what you can expect from a loss of consortium lawsuit.
What to Do When a Loss of Consortium Exists
If your loved one has been injured or killed in an accident, you might be entitled to compensation for damages under Florida’s loss of consortium laws.
While it may be difficult to discuss how your life was altered due to your loved one’s injury, a compassionate personal injury attorney can handle all loss of consortium negotiations on your behalf to help reduce your stress.