Recovering For Loss of Consortium After A Loved One Is Injured
When a loved parent or spouse is seriously injured or dies as a result of the negligent actions of another person, it can be devastating to a family. The relationships between the injured person and their family members can change due to the injured person’s ability to continue functioning as he or she did before. Although the kinds of parental and spousal relationships people enjoy cannot be quantified in monetary terms, Florida law allows children and spouses to recover in cases where the negligence of others leads to the loss of companionship or consortium.
Under Florida’s Wrongful Death Act, the surviving spouse of a deceased person has the right to sue and recover damages for the loss of spousal consortium and for mental pain and suffering. If there is no surviving spouse, then the children of the deceased may recover for the loss of parental consortium and for mental pain and suffering, if the deceased died as a result of another’s negligence. However, if the deceased died as a result of medical malpractice, only the surviving spouse and the children of the deceased who are under 25 years of age may recover for damages for loss of consortium and mental pain and suffering.
Children of an injured and disabled parent, regardless of age, may also recover under Florida law if they are dependent on the injured parent. Natural or adoptive children who are unmarried dependents of a parent who suffers a significant permanent disability through the negligence of another can sue for damages for loss of parental companionship and loss of services.
There are other personal injury cases where claims for loss of consortium between married couples can be based on common law and not a particular statute as outlined above. In automobile accident cases, depending on the injuries involved, and how it affects the injured party’s spouse, there may be a claim for loss of consortium.
Proving the Claim
Proving the loss of consortium usually involves showing the kind of activities the deceased or injured person was able to do with his family before the injury, and how this is now affected. For example, a spouse can testify that after a serious accident, the injured spouse is not able to work, enjoy hobbies they commonly enjoyed, or has even changed in temperament. Although a decline in the marital sexual relationship can be considered in a claim for loss of consortium, the overall marital relationship is considered and not simply the sexual relationship alone.
Further evidence can also be based on the testimony of others who witnessed the relationships that the children or spouse had with the deceased or injured person. Therefore, it is likely that the defense would bring up major disagreements or fights in an attempt to prove that the relationship was not as close as the suing party claims. For spouses suing for loss of consortium, evidence of any remarriage would be considered as relevant evidence in determining the amount of the award.
Contact an Experienced Clearwater Personal Injury Attorney
If your parent or spouse has been seriously injured and rendered disabled or is deceased due to the negligence of another, Florida law may allow you to receive some compensation for the loss of companionship and consortium that you may be experiencing. Contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Roman & Roman, P.A., for a consultation.