As a species, humans are inherently social. We rely on connections with others to survive. Our close relationships with the people who love and support us--for better or worse--are some of our most valuable possessions.
As Valentine's Day approaches, you may be putting a little more time and energy into being grateful for the people in your life that matter most--and showing your appreciation to them. But it's also worth understanding what would happen--from a legal standpoint--if your loving support system were suddenly taken away.
Every day, we make millions of choices--any of which could lead to an unexpected accident or injury. For example, your husband could suffer an on-the-job injury on an oil rig--resulting in traumatic brain injury. In such a case, your husband would be able to sue the negligent party for his medical expenses, loss of income and other pain and suffering.
In addition, his injury may have serious implications on your marital relationship. He may not remember you or be able to show the same level of love and affection for you. He may not be able to be the same type of companion or sexual partner he once was. His injury may have an adverse impact on your enjoyment of life.
All of these effects are compensable damages under what is called "loss of consortium." Under Alaska law, if your spouse suffers serious injury or death, you can file a loss of consortium claim against the negligent party to seek damages for any emotional distress, mental anguish or other non-economic damages you suffer as a result of your spouse's accident.
This Valentine's Day, be grateful for the health and wellbeing of your loved ones. Know that if the worst does happen, there are legal instruments in place to support you.