blog home Wrongful Death What Is ‘Loss of Consortium’ in a Wrongful Death Case?

What Is ‘Loss of Consortium’ in a Wrongful Death Case?

By Hess & Nghiem on April 30, 2024

The death of a loved one ranks among life’s most distressing events, leading to long-term emotional devastation and profound loss. In wrongful death cases, surviving spouses or partners may pursue loss of consortium damages —the enduring emotional toll of losing a loved one and are intended to provide solace and financial support while grieving their loss. More specifically, these damages address the intangible impact of this loss, seeking compensation for the deprivation of companionship, support, and intimacy.

Wrongful Death Claims

Wrongful death claims arise from fatal car accidents or some other severe incident caused by negligence or wrongful actions. Surviving family members, typically spouses, children, or parents of the deceased, can file such claims seeking damages for loss of financial support, companionship, and guidance. These damages encompass medical expenses, funeral costs, lost earnings, and emotional suffering. By holding responsible parties accountable, wrongful death claims provide financial relief and acknowledgment of the profound impact of losing a loved one due to someone else’s negligence.

Loss of Consortium Claims

Loss of consortium claims address the intangible losses suffered by a spouse or partner due to a loved one’s injury or death. These claims aim to compensate for the deprivation of:

  • Loss of Companionship: Compensation for the absence of emotional support, companionship, and camaraderie previously shared with the injured or deceased spouse or partner.
  • Loss of Affection: Compensation for the diminished affection, intimacy, and emotional connection resulting from the injury or loss of the spouse or partner.
  • Loss of Support: Compensation for the absence of physical, emotional, and financial support that the injured or deceased spouse or partner would have provided.
  • Loss of Guidance: Compensation for the guidance, advice, and mentorship that the injured or deceased spouse or partner would have offered to the family or household.

Typically filed by spouses or registered domestic partners, damages sought include emotional distress, loss of guidance, and diminished quality of life.

Proving Liability and Damages

Establishing liability for loss of consortium claims involves demonstrating that the defendant’s negligence or wrongful actions directly caused the injury or death of the loved one. Evidence must show a breach of duty, causation between the defendant’s actions and the loss, and resulting damages to the plaintiff’s relationship.

One of the central issues in a loss of consortium claim involves damages. Evidence that is often used to demonstrate damages include:

  • Medical Records: Records documenting the extent of the injury or death, such as hospital bills, rehabilitation expenses, and treatment reports, are vital for proving loss of consortium. They illustrate the financial impact of the injury or death.
  • Expert Testimony: Providing opinions on the impact of the injury or death on the relationship. Medical professionals are called to assess the severity of physical injuries, psychologists or therapists can be used to evaluate emotional trauma, and economists address quantifying financial losses.
  • Witness Testimony: Testimony about the changes in the relationship post-incident helps prove loss of consortium damages. The witnesses can include family members, friends, or colleagues who can testify about changes in the relationship, emotional distress, loss of companionship, and support suffered by the plaintiff.
  • Financial Records: Records such as bills, invoices, and pay stubs are crucial for demonstrating economic losses, such as income or household contributions.
  • Photographs/Videos: Footage that shows the quality of life before and after the injury or death is essential for demonstrating the noneconomic losses suffered.

Legal Assistance for Santa Ana Wrongful Death Claims

Legal representation is a significant step toward successfully pursuing loss of consortium claims, as it involves navigating complex legal procedures and evidentiary rules. Lawyers skilled in evidence code and procedural regulations ensure proper collection and presentation of evidence, increasing the likelihood of a successful outcome.

With over 50 years of combined legal experience, the attorneys at HN Injury Lawyers offer adept legal assistance. We have won over $100 million for our clients and can help you. Contact our Santa Ana wrongful death lawyers at (657) 333-5726 for a free consultation today.

Posted in: Wrongful Death