Among the various types of damages that may be available through a Florida personal injury are loss of consortium damages. These damages are unique in that they are not designed to compensate the victim for any of the injuries they sustained, but instead focus on providing the spouse of the injury victim compensation for loss of the “sexual relationship, affection, solace, comfort, companionship, conjugal life, fellowship, society, and assistance necessary to a successful marriage.”
Under Florida personal injury law, a loss of consortium damage claim is filed by a “deprived spouse,” based on injuries that the “impaired spouse” suffered. To successfully file a claim for loss of consortium, a deprived spouse must be able to establish:
- that a valid marriage existed between the deprived spouse and impaired spouse at the time of the injury;
- that the impaired spouse suffered a qualifying injury;
- that the loss of consortium was proximately caused by the defendant’s conduct, and not by some unrelated cause; and
- that the plaintiff suffered an actual loss of consortium.
Florida loss of consortium claims are separate and distinct from the impaired spouse’s claim, meaning that if an injured spouse settles their claim with the at-fault party, a deprived spouse’s loss of consortium claim could still proceed to trial. At the same time, a loss of consortium claim is derivative of the impaired spouse’s claim. This means that a loss of consortium claim requires that the impaired spouse have a valid claim against the defendant. A recent Florida appellate opinion illustrates this concept.
According to the court’s opinion, Husband was rear-ended by the defendant and filed a personal injury lawsuit seeking damages for injuries to his lower back. In addition, Wife filed a loss of consortium claim against the defendant. The defendant offered to settle the loss of consortium claim before trial, but Wife rejected the defendant’s offer. The jury returned a verdict in favor of the defendant, finding that Husband did not sustain a permanent injury.
After trial, the defendant sought an award of attorney’s fees from both Husband and Wife, claiming that the award was appropriate because the two claims were “inextricably intertwined.” The lower court rejected the defendant’s request, and the defendant appealed. The higher court determined that the two claims were inextricably intertwined because, in this case, the defendant successfully proved that the Husband did not sustain permanent injury.
Has Your Spouse Suffered Serious, Permanent Injury?
If your spouse has recently been injured in a Florida car accident, contact the dedicated Florida personal injury lawyers at the law firm of Frankl Kominsky. At Frankl Kominsky, we handle Florida personal injury cases across the state from our offices in Boynton Beach and Pompano Beach. To learn more about how we can help you pursue a claim for compensation based on the injuries either you or your spouse has suffered, call 561-660-9562 to schedule a free consultation today. There is no risk in calling because we will not bill you for our services unless we can help you obtain fair compensation for your injuries.