Loss of Consortium
If you have been injured in an accident, you may suffer from long-term or permanent effects. In some cases, people are permanently disabled, disfigured, or unable to lead their lives normally after an accident.
There are other more intimate effects that you may suffer from, such as loss of consortium. If you have specific questions about making a loss of consortium claim, then it is important that you speak to an experienced personal injury attorney.
What is Loss of Consortium?
Loss of consortium is a specific claim that a non-injured spouse or close family member (e.g., parent or child) makes after another party negligently injures their family member. The claims are typically brought alongside the victim’s own personal injury lawsuit. Loss of consortium deals with an injury victim’s inability to provide his or her family with the same type of love that was able to be provided before the accident.
An injury victim can suffer a loss of consortium when he or she is unable to engage in intimate or sexual relations with his or her spouse. It can also deal with non-sexual affection that the victim wishes to provide to his or her spouse but is unable to do so because of injuries suffered in an accident. You will likely have to prove a permanent or long-lasting injury to be awarded damages for loss of consortium.
What Factors Are Calculated in Loss of Consortium Claims?
Loss of consortium claims are generally considered non-economic damages. These damages are not easily calculated by looking at hard numbers like medical bills or pay stubs. Rather, a jury calculates them by looking at the injured party’s circumstances and how they affect their relationship to their non-injured spouse or close family member.
The court will look into all of the factors available in loss of consortium claims, including any medical diagnoses, witness statements, and testimony from family members and friends. You may need an expert witness’s services to establish a value on your loss of consortium claim properly.
Who Can File a Loss of Consortium Claim?
Under Florida law, loss of consortium claims can typically only be filed by an injured party’s spouse. Courts will sometimes allow a child of an injured parent or parent of an injured child to sue for loss of companionship.
To be successful in a loss of consortium claim, an injured party’s spouse must prove:
- The injured party and spouse were legally married at the time of the accident;
- The injured party suffered an injury that qualifies for a loss of consortium claim;
- The loss of consortium was caused by the defendant; and
- The injured party suffered an actual loss of consortium.
It is important to understand that a loss of consortium claim operates independently from the injured party’s main personal injury claim. This means that even if the main personal injury claim is settled, the loss of consortium claim can continue until it is specifically resolved. The claim for loss of consortium is the spouse’s claim, not the injured party’s claim.
Is there a Cap on Loss of Consortium Claims in Florida?
In Florida, a loss of consortium claim is generally categorized as a non-economic damage. Accordingly, there is generally no cap on the amount of money that a non-injured spouse can recover for loss of consortium. However, if your loss of consortium occurred because of an act of medical malpractice, there are caps on the amount you may recover for a loss of consortium claim.
Medical malpractice non-economic damage caps vary based on who the responsible party was. If you or a loved one has suffered a permanent or long-lasting injury in a medical setting, it is important to understand your options. We have experienced medical malpractice attorneys who can help you understand the compensation you may be entitled to in a medical malpractice case.
Important Things to Consider Before You File Your Loss of Consortium Claim
If you plan to bring a loss of consortium claim, it is important to know what you are getting into. An insurance company or responsible party will not agree to your claim easily. Your intimate life with your spouse will be put in prime focus. And questions will likely be asked related to your personal and sex life that you may not be comfortable answering.
In this scenario, the defense attorney’s job is to fight against your claim and try to show that you have not suffered a loss of consortium because of the defendant’s actions. Because of this, you may find that these inquiries are difficult to deal with.
Also, you have a limited amount of time to file your loss of consortium claim. Florida’s statute of limitations gives personal injury victims four years from the date of their accident to sue a defendant for damages. The time limit for medical malpractice and wrongful death cases is only two years. If you do not file your claim within the deadline, you might lose your right to loss of consortium damages.
Contact an Experienced Loss of Consortium Attorney to Discuss Your Rights
If you have been injured in an accident and are curious about making a loss of consortium claim, then it is important that you speak to an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. It is important to understand all of the circumstances involved in making this type of claim. We offer a free consultation so you can have your case assessed and evaluated by a seasoned professional.