Many in The Woodlands may question the merit of one filing a wrongful death lawsuit given that such action is not likely to truly compensate for the loss that he or she suffered. There may be a grain of truth in that logic; wrongful death actions are indeed meant to deliver compensation. Yet while filling the emotional void left by a loved one may indeed be impossible, the law does allow those ruling on such an action to attempt to do so by awarding noneconomic damages.
Texas’ Civil Practice and Remedies Code lists loss of consortium among those elements that qualify as “noneconomic damages.” Loss of consortium refers to one being deprived of the social benefits that a decedent may have provided. The law recognizes that such benefits can be as important and impactful as any financial support one might have provided to those he or she left behind. Thus, those who would have benefitted from them can be compensated for such a loss.
Arguing for damages due to loss of consortium can often be difficult as people can often have impact on many different parties. The law, therefore, only allows people to who shared special relationships with those on whose behalf wrongful death lawsuit have been filed to be granted such rewards. In most cases, these people will be spouses. The Texas Supreme Court has defined the noneconomic losses that a spouse experiences to be:
- Emotional support
- Sexual relations
The task of determining the monetary value to be placed on one’s loss of consortium is left entirely to the jury hearing a wrongful death case; no expert testimony is needed to arrive at such a figure.