Like many of your neighbors, friends and family members, you have found the perfect person with whom to enjoy your life. If your spouse or domestic partner suffers a serious injury or dies, you may experience an unfillable void. Fortunately, California law may allow you to pursue compensation from whoever is responsible for your loved one’s injury or death.
As you probably know, the law is full of terms that seem somewhat archaic. If you are not a lawyer, the words “loss of consortium” may mean nothing to you. Put simply, though, if you have a successful loss of consortium claim, you receive compensation for the intimacy, companionship and moral support you lose after a spouse or domestic partner suffers a serious injury or dies. To recover for loss of consortium in California, you must prove all of the following four elements:
1. Negligent or wrongful conduct
There exist a seemingly endless number of ways for anyone to sustain an injury or die. For a loss of consortium claim to succeed, though, you must prove that someone’s negligence or otherwise wrongful conduct caused your spouse’s or domestic partner’s injury or death.
2. A valid relationship
Under California law, to proceed with a loss of consortium claim, you must prove you and your partner had either a legal marriage or a registered domestic partnership. Even though other relationships may be meaningful, California’s legal scheme only allows loss of consortium claims for spouses and registered domestic partners.
3. Loss of consortium
If you plan to pursue a loss of consortium claim, you must prove you actually have loss of consortium. That is, because of your spouse’s or domestic partner’s injury or death, you miss out on companionship, intimacy, friendship or moral support.
4. Someone caused your loss of consortium
Finally, for a successful loss of consortium claim under California law, you must prove that someone’s actions caused your loss of consortium. Said another way, something else may not be the reason you have loss of consortium. If an extramarital affair, an estranged relationship or another issue is the reason you have loss of consortium, you may not be able to satisfy this element.
If your loved one sustained a serious injury or died, you may never feel the same again. In fact, you may miss out on the sort of intimacy, friendship, love and moral support that make life worth living. Still, if you can satisfy the legal elements for a loss of consortium claim, you may be able to receive compensation for your non-monetary damages.