What is Loss of Consortium?
Spouses of people who are injured often bring loss of consortium claims. Generally speaking, these types of claims address the loss of the benefits of a family relationship due to an injury. While some jurisdictions only recognize claims by spouses, others allow other family members to bring loss of consortium claims (e.g., a parent losing the love and affection of a child).
What are those damages? The concept is that, as a result of the defendant’s actions, the person who was injured or killed cannot provide his or her spouse or family member with the same love, affection, companionship, comfort, or societal relations that were provided before the accident. So, the spouse or family member of the person injured has a claim against the third party for those losses.
Typically, claims for loss of consortium are not awarded unless the person injured dies or suffers a severe and enduring injury, such as paralysis, amputation, or incontinence. Examples of general damages to the spouse include physical pain and suffering, shock and mental anguish and emotional distress. Typically, this type of an award is left to the discretion of the judge or jury.
Some states also permit a child or parent to file a loss of consortium claim. In such a circumstance, the child or parent would argue that his or her injured parent or child is no longer able to provide the same level of care, nurturing, and affection as he or she provided prior to the injury. In this situation, the child or parent would have to show that the parent/child relationship was irrevocably altered by the physical injury.
What to Consider Before Making a Loss of Consortium Claim
By bringing a loss of consortium claim, the private and intimate aspects of of your relationship/marriage will be put at issue. So, you should consider whether you are willing to withstand the rigorous questioning, during deposition and trial, that the defense attorney will likely bring.
Don’t go it alone, contact Parvey & Cavenago today for free initial consultation regarding loss of consortium.