Florida personal injury laws allow victims to pursue parties who caused their injuries. Personal injury claims may arise from a car accident, slip and fall accident, workplace injury, and other types of negligence and wrongdoing. The losses you incur include financial damages, as well as pain and suffering damages.
Loss of consortium is non-economic damage available in some injury cases. The claim for loss of consortium belongs to the injured person’s family members. They can recover compensation loss of consortium if they can prove they were deprived of the benefits of a family relationship because of the accident.
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What is a Loss of Consortium Claim?
A claim for loss of consortium includes damages to the family relationship. For example, when a person is injured, that person may not be able to perform all of the tasks they performed before their accident. As a result, family members may need to play a more significant role in running their household to fill the void left by the injured person.
Damages included in a loss of consortium cases include:
- Loss of companionship
- Sexual relationship
- Performing household chores
- Caring for children
- Loss of affection and love
- Loss of support and guidance
A loss of consortium claim does not fall under economic damages. Economic damages are financial losses, such as lost wages and medical bills. The loss of consortium is a non-economic damage, which can be more challenging to prove.
Who Can File a Loss of Consortium Claim in Florida?
The laws governing loss of consortium claims vary by state. For example, a child or parent could file a claim in some states.
However, under Florida laws, the injured party’s spouse has the right to file a loss of consortium claim. There have also been a few cases in Florida where judges permitted a child to file a loss of consortium claim.
Proving your claim could be challenging. There may be no physical evidence to demonstrate that you are suffering losses because of your spouse’s injuries.
You have the burden of proving the following elements to win your case:
- You and the injured party were legally married on the date of the injury (i.e., marriage license)
- The defendant is accused of causing your spouse’s injury
- The injuries sustained by your spouse qualify for a loss of consortium claim
- The conduct of the at-fault party was known to place other people at risk for injury or death
- You sustained a legal loss because of your spouse’s injuries
The proceeds from a loss of consortium claim are paid to the non-injured spouse. The money compensates the non-injured spouse for losses they suffered because of the defendant’s conduct.
How Does the Court Value a Loss of Consortium Claim?
The judge or jury decides how much to award for a loss of consortium claim. Factors that the court may consider when evaluating a loss of consortium claim include:
- Can the injured spouse assist in raising the children?
- Will the couple be able to continue sexual relations?
- Can the injured spouse offer useful and beneficial guidance and support?
- Can the person conceive a child (if the parties want a child)?
- Is the person able to assist with household chores?
- Does the person express feelings of love and emotions?
The more “no” answers, the more significant the impact of the spouse’s injuries on the non-injured spouse.
For instance, if the injured spouse cannot care for the children, the children may need to go to daycare or have a babysitter at home. If so, that is an additional cost for the family. That cost directly impacts the non-injured spouse’s finances.
Be prepared to answer highly personal questions about your home life, sex life, and personal relationship with your spouse. These details may be discussed in open court.
The defense attorney will try to minimize your losses. You must tell a compelling story of how your spouse’s accident has negatively impacted your relationship and your home. The more details you can provide about how your relationship with your spouse has suffered after the accident, the better chance you have of winning a consortium claim.
Call Our Miami Personal Injury Lawyer for a Free Consultation
You and your family member may be entitled to compensation for injuries and damages caused by another party. We encourage you to reach out to our law firm to schedule a free consultation with one of our Miami personal injury attorneys.
See: Gates v. Foley