In a situation where a spouse is injured or killed because of nursing home abuse or neglect, the surviving or non-injured spouse may be entitled to bring a claim for the loss of the other spouse’s services that occurred as a result of the injury or death. The recovery amount depends upon the personal nature of the relationship with the injured or dead spouse, but can provide for the more emotional aspects of elder abuse and neglect.
Under California law, a husband or wife can recover for loss of consortium because of a spouse’s injury or death. Loss of consortium claims are a derivative claim to the direct injury and cannot stand on their own. The recovery allowed under these claims can include loss or deprivation of the following:
- Services, e.g., household chores, caring for children;
- Emotional support and care;
- Comfort; as well as;
- Sexual relations.
In order to recover under a loss of consortium claim, the following elements must be established:
- The defendant is liable for the spouse’s injuries;
- The injured spouse and the claimant must be married; and
- There must be proof of damages.
Keep in mind that loss of consortium damages are considered “non-economic” damages. These damages do not involve exact monetary loss, nor possess an objective cash value. As such, in a trial setting, an award for loss of consortium is usually left to the discretion of the judge or jury. Legal experts maintain that these damages will most likely be awarded in cases involving a spouse who has died or who has been the victim of a severe injury. Loss of consortium damages are generally limited to these types of cases, and not cases involving “minor” physical injuries to the injured spouse, although the law does allow such claims.
The elder abuse attorneys at Berman & Riedel, LLP not only have a full understanding of California and federal law regarding elder abuse and neglect, but also are well experienced at bringing successful loss of consortium claims against wrongful nursing homes and other types of elder care facilities. While no amount of money can undo the pain and suffering that is often associated with elder abuse and neglect, a loss of consortium claim can help ease the financial burdens that are often felt by the surviving spouse.
If you would like to speak with an elder abuse attorney, call Berman & Riedel, LLP today at (850) 350-8855. Our attorneys will be more than happy to provide you and your family with an initial free consultation to discuss any questions or concerns you may have about the care that an elderly loved one is receiving. For more information about the firm’s attorneys, past settlements and awards, or types of cases Berman & Riedel, LLP handles, visit the firm’s main elder abuse and neglect page.