Trial Attorneys Take on Loss of Consortium in California

by : Lala C. Ballatan



There is aneclectic system in each state concerning the "Loss of Consortium"laws. However, most of the state's jurisdictions give permission to wives andhusbands of those who have been victims, usually in a personal injury case, torecover damages due to loss of consortium.

This isactually a form of "non-economic damage" wherein a partner in adomestic partnership or marriage may be given special rights to recovercompensation after the other partner has been a victim of wrongful death orsevere personal injury.

This means,that aside from the actual victim's pursuance of a personal injury case againstthe parties liable for the accident or defective products he/she had beeninvolved in or taken that resulted in severe injuries, the victim's spouse, ifthe jurisdiction permits it, can also sue the liable parties. The spouse's casewould be a claim for compensation on the loss of consortium he/she sufferedthat resulted from the victim's injuries.?

The usuallegal action done in cases of loss of consortium comes from the uninjuredspouse. He/she will file a case against the defendant for damages consequentialfrom his/her inability to enjoy or feel the same warmth and companionship shehad enjoyed or felt before his/her spouse sustained injuries. These kind oflegal claims usually arise whenever a spouse become severely injured, evenkilled as an aftermath of another party's wrongful/intentional acts and/ornegligence.

The Basics

The conventionalwisdom regarding loss of consortium is the losses that are suffered by theother spouse that results to the limited or decreased sexual activity after theinjury of the other.

Realisticallythough, more implications are covered by this term. The damages sought to becompensated by an uninjured spouse is centered on the aftereffects of theinjury on spousal functions that previously existed between the partners.

Given this,aside from deprivation or limitation in sexual relations, the claimant spousewho filed loss of consortium usually bids for compensation for the deprivationor loss of the following:

-?????????Emotionalcare and support

-?????????Companionship

-?????????Affection

-?????????Domesticservices (e.g. caring for the small children, share in household chores)

-?????????Love

-?????????Comfort

-?????????Society

These areamong the terms covered in filing a loss of consortium claim, connoting thatthere are broader matters concerning this clause.

Damages

Sincedamages because of loss of consortium are non-economic, there is no definedmonetary loss in this kind of cases. The claim also has no tangible cash value.As such, in cases that involved claims for loss of consortium, the jury orjudge are given the discretion to determine the award to be given to the victimin case such claim has been established.?

Loss of consortium inCalifornia

InCalifornia, a loss of consortium claim has a prerequisite of valid marriage. Acourt in California declared that absence of a valid marital relationship meansthat no such right exists.

Moreover,instructions to a California jury have explicit definitions of the loss ofconsortium, which is the "loss of[the spouse's] love, companionship, comfort, affection, society, solace ormoral support; any loss or enjoyment of sexual relations or the ability to havechildren or any loss of the [the spouse's] physical assistance in the operationand maintenance of the homeā€¦"

Trialattorneys in California keep this in mind and analyze a personal injury casemore thoroughly before introducing such claim from a spouse of a victim suingfor personal injury and/or wrongful death.

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