Personal Injury Attorney Tim David explains what filing a loss of consortium claim in Florida means and what is involved with these types of cases.
The legal term loss of consortium refers to the loss of an individual after his or her spouse has died or has been injured due to another’s negligence.
The law differs state to state, but in Florida the law is specific to spouses, which includes same sex spouses. The law may sometimes be applied towards children or family members, but on a case-by-case basis.
To further explain what a loss of consortium claim in Florida could mean for you, it is important to understand who may file the claim, how loss is defined under the legal term, and what are some possible consequences of filing this type of claim.
Who May File a Loss of Consortium claim in Florida?
A lawsuit is filed for the loss of consortium as a result of a defendant’s negligent actions, resulting with a person injured or killed and is no longer able to provide his or her spouse or family member with the same love, affection, companionship, comfort, or sexual relations that were provided before the accident.
Typically, claims for loss of consortium are only awarded when the person involved in the case dies or suffers a severe injury creating a much altered lifestyle; such as paralysis, amputation, or incontinence. In Florida, a loss of consortium may be filed by:
• Spouses (must be married in Florida)
• Children (sometimes)
What is Considered Loss?
Loss of consortium claims incorporate non-economic damages that are incurred from an injury and are, therefore, difficult to calculate their worth. The damages considered are often thought of in terms of support and services.
Support includes the financial support the injured could have contributed if they had not been injured. Services include all of the work and household assistance the injured could normally have contributed to an everyday household had they not been injured. These are examples of damages a jury will consider under a loss of consortium claim.
It’s not easy to place a price tag on emotional loss. There are many situations where a loss of consortium may be extremely relevant and costly to a case.
For example, a husband may experience a severe back injury while on the job and he is now paralyzed. Due to this back injury, all household responsibilities now fall on the wife creating a physical and financial burden on to her and their household. She no longer has a social companion, and their lives have completely changed. She may be in a good position to sue for a loss of consortium if she has filed a legal lawsuit against the third party involved with the injury to her husband in Florida.
Some additional non-economic damages that may be considered in loss of consortium claims in Florida include:
• Physical pain & suffering
• Humiliation & embarrassment
• Shock & mental anguish
• Harm to reputation
• Loss of society and companionship, and
• Emotional distress
What To Consider When Filing For Loss of Consortium:
One big factor to consider before filing a loss of consortium claim is privacy. By engaging in a loss of consortium claim, the private and intimate aspects of your marriage could become public. You could face aggressive questioning during depositions and trial and this information ultimately becomes public record. Difficult hardships, marriage difficulties, past criminal charges, abuse, infidelity, and anything else that may be difficult to discuss may become a topic in front of a judge or jury. This is just a possibility that you should consider before filing.
If you have questions about filing a loss of consortium claim in Florida or are considering filing, please don’t hesitate to contact an experienced personal injury attorney at David & Philpot today to have your questions answered. Contact us today at 800.360.7015 for a free, no obligation consultation about your case.