How Does Loss of Consortium Factor Into Injury Claims?
Loss of consortium can significantly impact damages in a personal injury or wrongful death claim. It is a non-economic loss that may be difficult to calculate. A thorough understanding of loss of consortium is important in assisting our clients to receive fair compensation.
What Is the Loss of Consortium?
“Loss of consortium” is a legal term used to describe the deprivation of benefits provided by an intimate or familial relationship. It is a type of damage claimed by spouses, partners, children, and parents of an injury victim. The spouse, partner, or relative sues the party responsible for the injury or death, because the injured or deceased victim can no longer provide him or her with the same companionship, comfort, affection, or sexual relations.
Loss of consortium falls under the category of non-economic damages, which refers to compensation for non-monetary, subjective losses, such as pain and suffering, mental anguish, and emotional distress.
How Can Loss of Consortium Occur in Personal Injury Cases?
Loss of consortium can occur in a number of ways in personal injury cases, when someone is killed or seriously injured through the negligence or wrongdoing of another. For example:
- A husband and father killed in a motor vehicle crash caused by a speeding driver can no longer provide support, companionship, love, affection, or comfort to his wife and children.
- When medical malpractice causes birth injuries that leave a child brain damaged and permanently disabled, the parents suffer the loss of a normal parent-child relationship.
- The husband of a woman who suffers severe traumatic brain injury in a fall down a dangerous stairway on someone else’s property may lose the affection, comfort, companionship, and relationship he previously had with his wife.
- A single parent injured by a negligent driver in a bicycle collision may not be able to care for the children or be involved in their lives during the recovery period.
What Factors Affect the Value of a Loss of Consortium Claim?
Because loss of consortium is a non-economic damage, it can be difficult to calculate. Medical or vocational experts may be needed to determine more accurate amounts for compensation. Factors that can affect the value of loss of consortium include:
- Living arrangements of the injured or deceased victim and the person pursuing loss of consortium
- Role the victim played in child rearing and household management
- Level of care and companionship between the victim and the individual pursuing the claim
- Length and stability of the marriage when a claim is brought by a spouse
- Activities shared by the deceased or injured victim and the person bringing the claim
What Evidence Is Needed to Show Loss of Consortium?
Different types of evidence can support a claim for loss of consortium. Family members of the injured or deceased person may testify as to how the injuries or loss of their loved one have impacted their family. An injury victim may testify as to how the injury has affected his or her ability to contribute to the needs of the family. Friends and other family members may also testify. Medical experts can provide testimony as to how the injuries the victim has sustained can impact a person’s life.
What Is the Role of Loss of Consortium in Personal Injury Settlements and Judgments?
Loss of consortium can make a difference in the amount of a settlement or judgment you receive for a personal injury claim. At Bottlinger Law L.L.C., we have the knowledge, skills, and resources to assess the full extent of your losses, including loss of consortium, and to effectively pursue the maximum compensation available under the law. Call us at (402) 505-8234 for a free consultation.
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