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Can I sue for loss of consortium as a result of wrongful death?

The death of one spouse caused by the negligent act of another person can be the subject of a lawsuit for money damages brought by the administrator of the deceased person's estate. Some of these damages are easy to identify, such as lost potential earnings, medical expenses prior to death and funeral expenses.

Other damages can be more difficult to quantify, but they are nonetheless still recoverable. They include destruction of the capacity to enjoy life activities, pain and suffering, and even compensation for the death itself.

The question may arise in a wrongful death lawsuit concerning whether the plaintiff can claim damages on behalf of a surviving spouse for loss of consortium, which are reflective of the loss of companionship, affection and dependence on the deceased spouse. It may seem that loss of consortium is logically connected to wrongful death in that the loss of consortium must have arisen from the death itself. But under Connecticut law, recovery for loss of consortium damages requires an additional step beyond filing a wrongful death lawsuit.

In fact, the law in this state makes an action for loss of consortium based on the death of a spouse a separate lawsuit from a wrongful death action. The same statute of limitations applies to the loss of consortium lawsuit as to the wrongful death lawsuit and to prevail on the loss of consortium claim the plaintiff must prove facts sufficient to prevail upon a claim for wrongful death.

Legal complexities such as the ones described above are just some of the complex issues that may arise in wrongful death cases. Other issues might include the possibility of multiple plaintiffs because the wrongful death action is brought by the personal administrator of the deceased while the loss of consortium action may be brought by the surviving spouse.

This posting is not offered or intended as legal advice. It is only an overview of a complex area of the law. Legal advice should be sought from a law firm familiar with wrongful death litigation and negligence that will be able to guide you through the process of obtaining the compensation allowable to you under the law for the loss of your loved one.

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