Explains Loss of Consortium Claims in Florida Personal Injury Cases
What is a Loss of Consortium Claim?
A loss of consortium claim is the claim of the spouse who does not suffer physical injury in an accident. Under the loss-of-consortium tort, the plaintiff may recover damages for the loss of the companionship and fellowship of a husband or wife, and the right of each to the company, cooperation and aid of the other, in every conjugal relation. A cause of action for loss of consortium for injuries to a spouse is abated on the spouse’s death. In the context of a claim of loss of consortium, the term “consortium” consists of that affection, solace, comfort, companionship, conjugal life, fellowship, society and assistance so necessary to a successful marriage. A loss of consortium claim is based on the implied rights of each spouse to have a legal right to be with the other spouse. Loss of consortium is a direct injury to the spouse of the injured married partner and must be pleaded separately by the spouse who has lost the consortium, even though it is derivative in the sense of being caused by injury to the spouse.
Who Can Bring a Claim for Loss of Consortium?
When a jury finds that one spouse has sustained injuries, as a result of the negligence of a third party, an award of damages to the other spouse for loss of consortium is not automatic; instead, in order to prevail on a claim for loss of consortium, the claiming spouse must present competent testimony concerning the impact that the incident has had on the marital relationship. Thus, to prevail on a claim for loss of consortium, a spouse must demonstrate the loss of the companionship and fellowship of husband and wife, and the right of each to the company, cooperation and aid of the other in every conjugal relation. Where the spouse claiming loss of consortium presents evidence that is substantial, undisputed and unrebutted, concerning the impact the injury had on the marital relationship, the spouse is entitled to receive at least nominal damages. Where sufficient undisputed evidence is presented on a consortium claim that would require an award of at least nominal damages, a zero verdict is inadequate as a matter of law.
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