Loss of Consortium

Husband suffers compensable claim for loss of consortium despite testimony that his relationship with his wife was not hurt after accident. Donald Mealy v. B-Mobile, (No. B226243 California Courts of Appeal, Second Appellate District, Division Three, May 24, 2011).

In this case, the plaintiff’s husband filed a loss of consortium claim with regard to his wife’s injury producing accident wherein she suffered complete paralysis of both legs. Plaintiff became her full-time caretaker.  He testified that he loved his wife after the accident and when asked if the relationship was hurt, he responded in the negative.  The trial court denied relief for loss of consortium.

The appeals court reversed.  It found that a person who suffers a loss of a diminution of consortium as a result of negligent injury to his spouse is entitled to recover damages from the tortfeasor.  Here, the husband’s overall satisfaction with his marital relationship did not negate any loss of consortium claim he had against the defendants.  The trial court’s narrow focus on the husband’s testimony improperly obscured the obvious loss of consortium on the record.  His wife’s debilitating injury impaired her mobility and limited her independence, which now required him to care for her around the clock.  The injured wife could no longer provide the same conjugal society to the husband as she once could and the husband clearly suffered a loss of  consortium despite the overall satisfaction with the marriage.


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