Spinal cord injuries are some of the most devastating injuries that our clients suffer. When the spinal cord is torn, shredded, mangled, or completely severed, then a person usually suffers a terrible loss of movement and sensation. Although a person might be able to partially recover when the spinal cord is only bruised or nicked, a serious spinal cord injury often leaves a client permanently paralyzed.
Fortunately, accident victims can receive compensation for their losses. But did you know that the spouse of a spinal cord victim might also have his or her own claim for monetary damages?
What is a Loss of Consortium Claim?
This type of claim strives to compensate a person for the loss of their familial relationship. When a spouse is paralyzed, many people report feeling as if they are alone. They can no longer enjoy walks on the beach, favorite activities, or even sexual intimacy with their husband or wife.
A loss of consortium claim is made for these non-economic losses. Although money can never compensate for the negative changes to marriage, money is basically all a court can award you. Florida law helpfully makes this claim available for spouses to bring.
Who Can Bring a Loss of Consortium Claim?
A current spouse can bring a claim. Couples do have to be married; dating is not enough. Florida, like the rest of the U.S., now recognizes same-sex marriages, so same-sex spouses can bring this claim.
Children can also sometimes bring a loss of consortium claim. Under Fla. Stat. § 768.0415, a child can bring this claim when a parent suffers a permanent injury that is significant. A spinal cord injury often meets the threshold of being a “significant” injury. Children can receive money for the loss of the parental relationship, including the loss of care, protection, affection, and guidance.
How Much Can I Receive?
No two people value a familial relationship the same. One person might think your husband being paralyzed is worth $20,000, while another would award $2 million. At our firm, we have handled many loss of consortium claims, so we can use our experience to estimate an amount a jury is likely to award. We can also help document how the paralysis has permanently altered your life so that you can make the strongest case possible.