What is Loss of Society and Companionship in Wisconsin?
In Wisconsin, if an individual dies as a result of the negligent conduct of another, their spouse and or immediate family members may be entitled to damages. The obvious purpose for the remedy is to provide relief for family members who must endure the pain and suffering of losing a beloved family member to an act of negligence. Loss of society and companionship (not to be confused with “loss of consortium”) is a statutory right that allows a surviving family member (i.e. a spouse or surviving children) to recover money damages as compensation for the loss of love, affection, care, protection, and or guidance that the surviving family member(s) would have received, but for the wrongful death of a family member. For example, in a wrongful death case involving a deceased spouse, the surviving spouse is deprived of the companionship of marriage, they are no longer able to enjoy or benefit from the love, affection, and or intimacy of their deceased partner. In determining the extent of injury and calculating damages associated with loss of society and companionship in a spousal case, courts tend to look at the length of the marriage, the nature of the marriage, and the shared activities and common interests of the spouses. In cases concerning the death of a minor child, courts tend to look at “the age of the deceased child and the ages of the parents, the past relationship between the child and the parents, and or the extent to which you find the parents will suffer from the loss.” Loss of society and companionship has also been applied to cases where a parent(s) loses a child. In cases involving the loss of a minor child, prevailing parents may collect up to $500,000. In cases involving the death of an adult, a prevailing plaintiff (family member or spouse) may collect up to $350,000. Damages for loss of society and companionship may be awarded to the spouse, children, or parents of the deceased, or to the siblings of the deceased if the siblings were minors at the time of the deceased family members death.
If you have questions about the wrongful death of a loved one, or what you may be entitled to as an immediate family member in bringing a claim for loss of society and companionship, contact one of the personal injury attorneys at Karp & Iancu, S.C.