Loss of consortium is a type of damage that is frequently included in wrongful death claims. The concept is deprivation of the benefits of a family relationship (inclduing affection and sexual relations) due to injuries caused by the defendant. The spouse of someone injured or killed in an accident can sue for damages based on loss of consortium.
Loss of consortium may also be awarded in a personal injury claim. In this case, the victim did not die but suffered severe, long-lasting, or permanent injuries that affected their ability to provide consortium support. The following will guide you through the aspects of a loss of consortium claim.
Who Can Bring a Loss of Consortium Claim?
Typically a spouse or life partner can pursue loss of consortium damages in a lawsuit.
Partners and Spouses
Historically, only a victim’s spouse had grounds to claim for a loss of consortium. However, eventually many states relaxed the requirement, and now domestic partners may file for loss of consortium. Each state is different, though, so it’s essential that you consult with a wrongful death attorney to go over the details of your case.
Parents and Children
In some states, parents and children can file for loss of consortium. In such states, the parent or child’s argument would be that the deceased child or parent is no longer able to nurture and care for them as they did prior to their death.
Calculating Damages in a Loss of Consortium Claim
Loss of consortium falls under non-economic damages; this means they are a kind of harm where the money is only a substitute to the loss. Other examples of such losses include pain and suffering, humiliation and embarrassment, shock and mental anguish, loss of reputation, and emotional distress, among others.
Loss of consortium loss and its monetary value is left to the jury’s or judge’s discretion. However, a claimant and their attorney must first quantify their claim. A seasoned wrongful death attorney will retain an expert to evaluate a precise monetary value for your loss of consortium claim.
Limitations on Loss of Consortium
Consulting with an attorney in this kind of claim is one of the most critical steps because a loss of consortium claim may often face limitations from state laws. For instance, in some jurisdictions, claimants in a loss of consortium case need to prove that a valid marriage existed. In other states, same-sex couples can claim loss of consortium even when same-sex marriages are prohibited in those states.
Insurance policies may also have limitations to claims. For instance, most liability policies will include a single injury limitation. Such limitations cap the amount the insurance company covers per incident. It also means that a loss of consortium claim may just fall under a separate incident in reference to the policy.
File for Compensation
Loss of a loved one deprives their loved ones not just of the monetary provisions but also robs them of love, care, and companionship that the deceased offered. If you lost a loved one through wrongful death, you deserve compensation for your loss of consortium.
It’s important to acknowledge that the claim may involve putting intimate and private aspects of your relationship in the spotlight. These personal aspects will also undergo rigorous questioning. If you suspect your loved one’s death was due to another party’s intentional or negligent actions, discuss their circumstances with an attorney to determine whether you can make a loss of consortium claim.