There are other people besides the accident victim who suffer damages from the effects of a personal injury. More than one person can bring a personal injury claim based on the facts of a particular accident.
One common personal injury claim is a loss of consortium case filed by the accident victim’s spouse or registered domestic partner. They can recover financially for what they lost when their spouse or partner suffered a severe injury or died in an accident.
The right to loss of consortium damages has been a part of California law for nearly five decades. This cause of action recognizes the fact that an injured spouse is not alone in their relationship. It is a common law doctrine in California that the state Supreme Court instituted, reversing decades of precedent that did not recognize a loss of consortium claim.
To learn more about the complexities of a loss of consortium claim please call our personal injury lawyers today.
There Are Numerous Ways That a Spouse Can Lose Due to a Personal Injury
In California, the loss of consortium can mean several things. A spouse or partner provides the other with different forms of companionship. The first thing for which you have a right to compensation is the loss of love, support, and closeness with the accident victim. A spouse provides far more than just financial support. They support their partner on a daily basis and have a close emotional relationship with them.
Next, loss of consortium also means compensation for a decline in the physical relationship between spouses or partners. These losses can include both sexual relations and the ability to reproduce. It is important to note that financial support is not covered in a loss of consortium claim.
In California, the loss of consortium is a derivative claim. It is not filed by the spouse or partner on their own. Instead, it is filed along with the main personal injury case, and the spouse or partner is one named plaintiff.
To qualify for a loss of consortium claim, there must be more than a simple relationship between the two. Not only must the two partners live together and agree to share expenses, but they must also file a certificate that registers their relationship with the California Secretary of State.
The Elements of a Successful Loss of Consortium Claim
To have a loss of consortium claim, the following elements will need to be met:
- Someone else committed an act of negligence that injured the person’s spouse or partner.
- There was a valid marriage or registered domestic relationship at the time of the injury.
- There was an actual loss of consortium.
- The spouse or partner suffered damages from that loss of consortium.
A loss of consortium claim wholly depends on whether someone else was negligent. If the injured spouse loses their claim, there can be no loss of consortium damages for the spouse because there was no negligence. Therefore, there will always be some sort of factual analysis before a court or insurance company even looks at the relationship between spouses.
You Can Expect Some Challenges in Assigning a Number to the Damages
By definition, a loss of consortium claim is subjective. The spouse or partner is describing their own relationship with the accident victim and how it has suffered. The person filing a claim is the one who knows how much their relationship has suffered.
As with any claim that seems subjective, an insurance company will both downplay the damages and attempt to deny it. Loss of consortium damages are tied to the severity of the injury. The more serious the injury to the main plaintiff, the more the spouse can receive in damages.
You Have the Burden of Proof to Demonstrate Your Damages
It is up to the plaintiff’s spouse or partner to demonstrate and quantify their damages from the loss of consortium. You will need proof of the scope and extent of the relationship prior to the accident. The plaintiff will need to describe some details that they may consider uncomfortable, such as information about the sexual relationship that they had before the accident.
Nonetheless, it is essential to reveal these details because otherwise, you cannot prove the extent of their damages. As a plaintiff, you can expect that the lawyer will ask you an extensive set of questions about practically all aspects of your life and relationship with the person who suffered an injury. There is no other way to come up with a number for your damages.
A couple will hire one personal injury attorney to prosecute a loss of consortium claim. Usually, the lawyer who handles the personal injury claim on behalf of the injured spouse also represents the one who is claiming loss of consortium.
Contact a Beverly Hills Personal Injury Lawyer Today
If you or a loved one have suffered an injury in an accident, you need an experienced attorney to help you fight for the maximum possible financial compensation for the harm that you suffered.
One Law Group works hard for you to get results. We will leave no stone unturned in your fight for financial compensation. To schedule your free initial consultation, you can reach out to us online or call us at (844) 626-1529.
Personal Injury Case FAQs
How do I prove negligence in a personal injury case?
You need to show that someone else acted unreasonably under the circumstances. You demonstrate negligence through the use of evidence that shows what the defendant did.
How much is my loss of consortium case worth?
It all depends on the specifics of your relationship. You can expect that a court will delve into the granular details to value what you have lost.
Are there any caps on loss of consortium claims in California?
The only personal injury damage caps in California or in medical malpractice claims. Otherwise, there is no limit to the damages.