As The News-Press reports, plaintiff in the case said he now “feels more like a son than a husband” to his wife after the accident. He explained during testimony at trial that his relationship with his wife was substantially altered following the collision in which an elderly motorist plowed into him as he and other cyclists rode in a group on Fort Myers Beach. As the cyclist lay bleeding and unconscious on the road, the 86-year-old driver reportedly shouted, “I should have hit them harder. I should have hit all of them.”
Family members for the driver, who is now deceased, say those comments were extraordinarily out of character for him. Photographs taken in the aftermath of the crash show him standing nearby with his pants on backward. They say he was later treated for a neurological issue. He died less than two years later.
Plaintiff was in a coma for nearly a week after the crash. He suffered a traumatic brain injury, one collapsed lung and one punctured lung, a split scapula and numerous broken ribs. Although his condition slowly began to improve after numerous surgeries, he is no longer the same. Before the crash, he was the breadwinner of the family. He worked as a custom tile-installer. His wife stayed home with their two daughters.
Now, he can no longer work. His wife has had to take on a job as a waitress. She must also cook, clean and drive him to all of his doctor’s appointments and everywhere else he must go. He grapples with headaches, sensitivity to loud noises and dizziness.
No longer is he able to play tennis, soccer or rollerblade with their daughters. He can’t ride a bike anymore either. The family used to take occasional vacations, but that has become a thing of the past. Now, they are scraping to get by financially.
As much as his body has been physically wounded, plaintiff says, his dignity and pride have suffered. He is no longer the same man to his family that he once was. Says his wife, who is seeking damages for loss of consortium, “Everyone depends on me, when before, we depended upon him.”
She is grateful for his survival, but says the bicycle accident should never have happened in the first place.
Plaintiffs are suing the estate of the driver, whose wife is serving as representative.
Loss of consortium in personal injury litigation refers to the deprivation of a family relationship as a result of injuries caused by the defendant. Central to proving that claim is showing that the family relationship or dynamic has changed for the worse. In this case, it seems that’s exactly what plaintiff has done.
Claims for loss of consortium are filed by the person who has suffered the loss (so in this case, it would be the wife). Such claims can assert a loss of intimate relations, but often it goes beyond that to encompass the loss or significant change in the emotional bond once shared.
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Crash victim: Before I was a husband, now I’m like a son, Sept. 29, 2016, By Janine Zeitlin, The News-Press
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Regalado v. Callaghan – Premises Liability Lawsuit for Pool Contractor Injury, Sept. 23, 2016, Port St. Lucie Accident Lawyer