To suddenly lose a loved one to a car accident in Los Angeles would likely be a devastating blow to anyone. When you have suffered such a tragedy, many may view the extent of your loss as being the financial support he or she might have provided. Yet what about the emotional support you had come to except from your loved one? Ultimately, being deprived of that may be more devastating than any income he or she might have provided. The question then becomes if you are permitted by law to seek compensation for such a loss in the same manner that you can attempt to recover lost wages and support.
The loss of one’s care and companionship is referred to (in legal terms) as loss of consortium. It recognizes the emotional toll that a loved one’s sudden death can leave. Specifically, you may face challenges such as:
- Not having the added support to maintain your home and property
- Being deprived of your loved one’s advice and solace
- No longer being able to enjoy an intimate relationship with your spouse or romantic partner
- Having to raise your children without the assistance of another parent
These are all classified as non-economic damages, thus making it more difficult to quantify how much your loved one’s loss may mean to you in monetary terms. For this reason, many states actually prohibit non-economic damages in wrongful death cases. California, however, is not one of them. In the state’s Civil Jury Instructions, it states that a jury can award damages based on your being deprived of a loved one’s companionships. Such an award can only be granted, however, if the decedent was your spouse. Unlike economic damages, the state imposes no cap on the amount a jury may decide to award in this scenario.