When people die unexpectedly in Bozeman, they may often leave behind a glaring void in the lives of their families. In the event that their deaths were due to the wrongful actions of others, those that they leave behind may be able fill those voids through a wrongful death lawsuit. Oftentimes, the financial void may be easily calculable, yet the same may not be said for the emotional one. This leads to the question of whether one is entitled to seek action for anything beyond the financial loss of a loved one.
Montana's wrongful death statute simply states that one's personal representative may seek damages for wrongful actions, yet does that cover emotional damages to the loss of one's companionship? The legal principle of loss of consortium allows for compensation for the loss of emotional support, aid, protection, and society that the decedent provided. Typically, this loss is measured between spouses and may even be extended to consider the loss of physical affection and sexual relations. However, the court may also apply this principle when one is deprived of the comfort and counsel of a parent or child.
Loss of consortium essentially accounts for the fact that a person's influence may go far beyond the financial support that he or she provides. In many cases, the impact of his or her companionship may be deemed to be greater, particularly with his or her spouse and children, or in the cases of minors, parents.
While state law does specifically address the topic of consortium, information shared by the Montana Judicial Branch shows that loss of comfort and consortium is covered under the category of "damages" described in the state's wrongful death statute.