When accidents happen because of someone else's negligence, the consequences can go beyond a victim who suffered injuries or death in the incident.
In many cases, the victim's partner, spouse, or close relative suffers due to the negligence or wrongdoing of someone else. In those cases, the partner, spouse, or close relative may be able to recover damages for loss of consortium.
In legal terms, loss of consortium is defined as the deprivation of benefits offered by a family or intimate relationship. These losses can include:
A loss of consortium claim is a personal injury claim. Unlike other personal injury claims made on behalf of the actual victims of an accident, a loss of consortium claim is made on behalf of the close personal contact of the accident victim, such as a spouse or a relative. The loss of a consortium is essentially the loss of some aspect of a relationship that occurs when an accident victim is seriously injured or killed. This type of personal injury claim offers loved ones of accident victims compensation for the loss of a relationship they suffered as a result of someone else's negligence.
Who can claim loss of consortium?
In most cases, only people who are very close, intimate partners or relatives of an accident victim can file a claim for loss of consortium. This can include domestic partners, spouses, and, in some cases, parents and children. These types of claims can be complex and require an experienced personal injury lawyer. These personal injury lawyers can help determine if those close to an accident victim are eligible to seek damages for loss of consortium. A lawyer can help file a civil lawsuit pursuing the claim or negotiate a reasonable settlement with the defendant or their insurance.
What are examples of loss of consortium?
Some examples of loss of consortium include:
A severe injury suffered by a child at birth due to medical negligence results in brain damage and permanent disability.
A spouse is paralyzed in a car accident and can no longer participate in marital relations.
A domestic partner dies in a work accident.
What constitutes a loss of consortium?
While there may be variations in certain jurisdictions, there are three basic elements involved in a loss of consortium claim:
The person filing the claim is close to the accident victim, either as a relative or part of a committed relationship that existed before the accident.
The defendant in the case was negligent or acted in an intentionally wrong manner that led to the victim's injuries in the accident.
The result of the accident, either serious injury or death, led to a loss of intimacy, affection or some other normal relationship.
How are damages calculated in a loss of consortium claim?
Unlike other personal injury claims that include quantifiable damages, such as reimbursement for medical expenses, loss of consortium damages are considered non-economic. That means they compensate for a non-monetary loss that cannot be easily calculated.
In such claims, a number of factors are considered, including:
The living arrangement of the injured victim and the loved one pursuing the claim.
The length and stability of the relationship when the claim is filed.
The accident victim's role in raising a child shared with a loved one and in managing the household.
The level of care and companionship between the accident victim and the loved one pursuing the claim.
An experienced personal injury lawyer can draw on past cases to calculate fair compensation in a loss of consortium case.