Can a Spouse Recover Compensation for Loss of Consortium Damages Caused by Medical Malpractice?

Yes. When a spouse is seriously injured or killed as a result of medical malpractice, the other spouse can seek compensation for loss of consortium damages. Such a claim is recognized by both the Connecticut Supreme Court and by the Connecticut Legislature. A claim for loss of consortium reflects two realities: one, when one spouse is killed or seriously injured by medical malpractice, the other spouse is also injured because the marital relationship has been changed or destroyed; and two, although we take our spouses "for better or worse" that does not mean that a negligent, careless, or medical provider can wreak havoc on a marriage with impunity. Thus, in Connecticut a spouse can make a claim for both the economic and non-economic losses that a marital relationship can suffer as a result of a serious injuries or death caused by medical malpractice, (For background on Economic and Non-Economic Damages, please see the detailed discussions of same above.)

Economic loss of consortium damages refers to those tangible things that a spouse used to contribute to the running of the household, such as financial support and/or household services in the form of chores and other activities. Connecticut law states that when a spouse can no longer contribute those things to the household or relationship to the same level or degree as were contributed before the medical malpractice, the other spouse is entitled to compensation in the form of money damages to make up for the loss of that financial support and/or household services. At Advocates Law Firm, the lawyers on our MedicalMalpractice.pro Team would retain the services of a forensic economist to calculate the present day value of such losses, drawing on government statistics, life expectancy charts, past earning history, projected future earning history, etc.

Non-economic loss of consortium damages refers to those intangible (but still important) things that a spouse used to contribute to the marital relationship, such as love, companionship, affection, society, sexual relations, comfort, support, and solace. Connecticut law states that when a spouse can no longer contribute those things to the marital relationship to the level or degree that they were contributed before the medical malpractice, then the other spouse is entitled to compensation in the form of money damages to make up for the loss of that love, companionship, affection, society, sexual relations, comfort, support, and solace.

A spouse's claim for loss of consortium damages arising from a medical malpractice claim is considered independent from the other spouse's claim. See for example, Connecticut General Statute Section 52-555a, which provides: "Any claim or cause of action for loss of consortium by one spouse with respect to the death of the other spouse shall be separate from and independent of all claims or causes of action for the determination of damages with respect to such death."

And although a claim for loss of consortium arising from medical malpractice is independent, it is also considered "derivative" of the injured spouse's claim and should be made as part of the injured or deceased spouse's claim. See for example Connecticut General Statute Section 52-555b, which provides: "Any claim or cause of action for loss of consortium by one spouse with respect to the death of the other spouse, which claim or cause of action may include, without limitation, claims for damages with respect to loss of the society of, affection of, moral support provided by, services provided by, sexual relations with or companionship of the other spouse, suffered because of the death of the other spouse, shall be brought with or joined with the claims and causes of action with respect to the death of the other spouse."

If you or a loved one has suffered a serious injury or loss caused by medical malpractice, medical negligence, or medical mistake, please contact our MedicalMalpractice.Pro Team to arrange a free and confidential consultation.

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