Loss of society is a non-economic loss for which the loved ones of a victim in a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit can seek compensation. When your spouse or parent suffers significant injuries or dies, you also experience a loss. That person is not available to be with you in the same way as before.
“Loss of society and companionship” is not the same as “loss of consortium.” A surviving spouse can seek compensation for both types of loss. Loss of society is available to surviving spouses and other close family members. These damages honor the fact that the wrongful or negligent act of someone took away the love, care, affection, guidance, and protection they used to receive from their catastrophically injured or deceased loved one.
Loss of Society and Companionship Damages in a Personal Injury Case
Loss of society damages usually take place in wrongful death cases, but in some personal injury lawsuits, it is possible to get an award of these damages. Here is an example:
Comatose victim in a personal injury lawsuit. The victim survived the car crash but sustained severe head trauma, leaving him comatose and on long-term life support.
He can no longer take the kids to school, play with them, attend their school events, nurture or raise them. His wife faces an uncertain number of years without her closest companion. His surviving spouse and children have, in most meanings of the term, lost their dad, even though his body is not yet dead. They have lost his society and companionship.
Loss of Society and Companionship Damages in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
In wrongful death cases, it is a straightforward matter to establish the loss of society of your deceased loved one. Georgia law provides for damages for the “full value of the life” of the person who died as a result of someone’s negligent or wrongful act.
The full value of the life can include such things as the economic support, services, consortium, society, and companionship that the deceased person provided to the family. The “society and companionship” aspect of these damages can cover such things as advice, guidance, protection, care, and assistance.
What We Have to Prove in a Loss of Society Damages Claim
We must show that the defendant (at-fault party) caused the harm to your catastrophically injured or deceased loved one through a negligent, intentional, or otherwise wrongful act. The elements of liability in negligence are:
- The defendant had a legal duty toward your loved one. For example, the defendant was driving the vehicle that crashed into your loved one. Like all drivers, the defendant had an obligation to drive his car in a careful manner and observe the laws and rules of the road.
- The defendant breached his legal duty. The defendant was driving while under the influence of alcohol. His blood alcohol content (BAC) exceeded the legal limit in Georgia. By breaking the law about driving while impaired, the defendant violated his legal obligations. Failing to meet the standard of care is negligence.
- The negligence caused the injury. Because of his intoxication, the defendant lost control of his vehicle and struck the victim, causing his severe or fatal injuries. The defendant is responsible for the personal injuries or wrongful death of the victim.
Getting Help with Your Loss of Society Damages Claim in Georgia
When you have lost the society and companionship of a loved one, it means that your spouse or a close relative has suffered a devastating injury or death. In times like this, the last thing you need is to have to deal with things like figuring out your legal rights and what you should do.
At S. Burke Law, we understand. We can take these burdens off of your back so that you can focus on rebuilding your life.