In some accidents, victims will suffer long-term or permanent effects from their injuries. If an individual is disabled or permanently disfigured in an accident, they can no longer live their lives as they did before the accident. One unfortunate long-term impact of a serious injury is loss of consortium.
A loss of consortium can affect everyone in the immediate family of the injury victim, especially their spouse. If you have a loss of consortium claim, then make sure you speak to an experienced personal injury attorney right away.
Loss of Consortium in Florida
Loss of consortium claims are non-economic damages. Unlike other damages, a loss of consortium claim belongs to the spouse of an injured party (or, in some cases, a parent or child).
When someone makes a loss of consortium claim, it is because they are no longer able to enjoy their injured loved one’s companionship and support as they did before an injury. For example, a husband can suffer a loss of consortium over the inability to engage in intimate or sexual relations with his wife or vice versa. It can also deal with general affection and support that a victim can no longer provide to their family. To be eligible for a loss of consortium claim, you will first have to prove that your injuries are long-term or permanent.
Non-economic damages are not easily calculated. Different formulas are used to determine what compensation is appropriate. Because these damages involve compensation for a long-term or permanent injury, loss of consortium claims can result in a high amount of damages.
What Factors Are Calculated in Loss of Consortium Claims?
The court will consider relevant facts and circumstances in determining a loss of consortium claim. These factors can include testimony or statements from loved ones, family members, doctors, and medical specialists. An expert witness might be necessary to prove your loss of consortium claim. These witnesses can help explain the technical aspects of your case and show how your loved one’s injury affects their ability to offer companionship.
Who Can File a Loss of Consortium Claim?
Under Florida law, only the spouse of an injury victim can file a loss of consortium claim.
A spouse must show the following to have a successful loss of consortium claim:
- The spouse and injury victim were married when the accident happened;
- The injury victim suffered an injury that resulted in a loss of consortium;
- The defendant proximately caused the injury to the victim; and
- The injury victim actually suffered a loss of consortium.
A non-injured spouse will typically file their claim alongside the injured spouse’s personal injury claim. Each case will be resolved independently. In a loss of consortium claim, the spouse is the plaintiff, and the injured party is not a party to the action.
Is There a Cap on Loss of Consortium Claims in Florida?
Loss of consortium claims are non-economic damages; they are generally not capped in Florida. This means that there is no limit to the amount of money a judge or jury can award in a loss of consortium case.
If a medical mistake caused a loss of consortium, then there are limits to how much a judge or jury can award due to medical malpractice caps. These caps can vary depending on who caused the medical malpractice.
Important Things to Consider Before You File Your Loss of Consortium Claim
Loss of consortium claims can be uncomfortable and intrusive. When you make a claim like this, you will likely be asked questions related to your personal life with your partner. Your sex life and personal details will be examined and questioned by attorneys from both sides. Particularly, the defense may look to attack or discredit your claims, which can result in embarrassment.
Before you make any decisions about a loss of consortium claim, it is important to speak to an experienced attorney.
Contact a Clearwater Personal Injury Lawyer for Help
If your spouse has suffered a severe or permanent injury, you may be entitled to file a loss of consortium claim. You could file this claim alongside your spouse’s personal injury claim. A Clearwater personal injury lawyer can help identify your options for seeking compensation after your spouse’s injury. Contact one today for a free consultation.