First, we are going to talk about what a consortium is. What is it? The word by definition means the right of association and companionship with one's husband or wife. Have you ever thought about what happens if someone were to be killed in an accident that wasn’t their fault? First things first is you need to get the insurance companies involved and you take the proper actions, etc. We hope this never happens to you or anyone close to you, but your accident attorneys want you to be prepared if you were to be put into that possible scenario.
The concept of Loss of Consortium is explained on consumersafety.com, they reported
“Some legal scholars trace the concept of damages related to loss of consortium back to English common law, and others find its roots as far back as Roman law. In both cases, loss of consortium claims and reparations were aimed at compensating a husband for missing property (his wife) and the value it posed. Though archaic in thinking, these early interpretations of loss of consortium sought to deliver justice to husbands deprived of their wives. If a court found a wrongdoer responsible for a woman's injury or death, the wrongdoer would need to provide her husband compensation equivalent to the economic value of her missing household contributions. In contemporary times, loss of consortium addresses the value of familial relationships, encompassing injuries far more abstract than property damage or destruction. It now ascribes value to love, care and camaraderie in addition to domestic responsibilities like childcare and home maintenance.”
How do people get compensated for Loss of consortium damages?
Loss of consortium is a type of personal injury claim where if your spouse or close family member has been injured or killed to the negligence or intentional wrongdoing. The reason why people can be compensated is because it includes loss of intimate relationship companionship, care, assistance, affection, love, comfort, or even sexual intimacy. Depending on the state, the claim only includes spouses and domestic partners. The only other set of people who can make this claim are parents and children, and that is for particular cases.
An experienced attorney at Demesmin and Dover Law Firm would be able to assist you in opening your consortium claims as well as give you tips and advice as to what your next move should be.
What qualifies as a loss of consortium claim?
If you don’t know what qualifies as a loss of consortium here are some examples according to Forbes.com,
“When a child suffers a severe birth injury due to medical negligence and becomes brain-damaged and permanently disabled, parents may bring a loss of consortium case due to a loss of the normal parent/child relationship.
When a husband or wife is paralyzed in a car accident and is no longer able to engage in marital relations, the other spouse could pursue a loss of consortium claim.
These are just two of many situations where this kind of loss can occur. Whenever you have lost a normal relationship with a loved one, this could potentially give rise to a claim for loss of consortium damages depending on state law.
Loss of consortium will always fall into the personal injury case as you can only claim this if the person who passed, died from personal injury or wrongful death. This includes members of the LGBTQIA+ community same-sex marriages are included in this personal injury suit. When the Supreme Court affirmed the equality of same-sex marriages, it included anything to do with the marriage in general.
Are there limitations to loss of consortium claims?
Depending on the type of lawsuit, certain limits may apply to a loss of consortium claim. Since it falls under the category of compensatory damages, loss of consortium is limited by state compensatory caps. It may also be limited by certain insurance and/or liability limits. Our experienced personal injury lawyers can evaluate your specific case and advise you of any applicable limitations.
It is not easy to lose someone, especially suddenly and tragically. The courts try to compensate for that, not necessarily in a way where they are putting a price on a life, but they are trying to make the loss process easier especially due to the timing and status of the relationship of the deceased.
There are some states that will accept a loss of consortium suit in a case where a child was severely injured. Those states include Massachusetts, Florida, and Arizona among others. Losing a child is extremely difficult and will put you through the emotional turmoil that no compensation could ever account for.
Are you still eligible if it is your child?
Absolutely. According to consumersafety.com, they say,
“Loss of consortium laws vary state to state, but multiple courts have allowed children to claim damages related to the loss or injury of their parent or guardian, often referred to as parental consortium damages. One court ruled that an individual could bring a loss of consortium claim as long as they had a "significant enough relational bond" with the victim (injured or deceased parent). In general, the ability of a child to make such a claim depends entirely upon the relevant state law, or common law, and a court's interpretation of it. Similarly, parents have largely been permitted to make loss of consortium claims in the event of serious or fatal injury to a child. This type of claim, a filial consortium claim, is subject to varying state laws and judicial precedents. Some cases have successfully recovered damages for grandparents and siblings related to a negligently injured child.”
The best way to understand loss of consortium in the context of a parent-child relationship is by speaking to an experienced personal injury attorney today.
What type of evidence do you need for the personal injury claim of loss of consortium?
Many don’t know that when something happens relating to loss of consortium, there needs to be proof that something had, in fact, occurred. Unlike many other areas of law and life, there is not a specific way to prove or determine damages. According to enjuries.com, they proclaim that the court would likely look at these additional factors,
"Was it a loving and stable marriage? What were the spouses' living arrangements? What type of care and companionship existed between the spouses? What were the spouses' individual life expectancies? What role in child-rearing and household responsibilities did the member who passed have?"
If a spouse is injured in a car accident, for example, and the physical injuries make them unable to provide love, affection, companionship, and a sexual relationship to the other spouse — in addition to household maintenance and chores, responsibilities of raising children, and other lifestyle activities — the non-injured spouse could claim damages for those losses”.
How are loss of consortium damages calculated?
Loss of consortium damages are typically calculated based on several factors, including the following:
The severity of the Injury: The extent of the injury suffered by the injured party plays a crucial role in determining the amount of loss of consortium damages. Severe injuries that result in significant physical or emotional impairments may lead to higher compensation.
Duration of the Loss: The length of time the injured party will experience the loss of consortium is another consideration. If the impairment is permanent, the damages may be higher compared to a temporary loss.
Impact on the Relationship: Loss of consortium refers to the negative impact on the relationship between the injured victim's claim and their spouse or family member. Factors such as the loss of companionship, emotional support, intimacy, and the ability to engage in activities together will be evaluated to determine the extent of the damage.
Documentation and Evidence: To support a claim for loss of consortium damages, it is essential to provide evidence that demonstrates the impact on the relationship. This may include testimonies from the affected spouse or family members, medical records, therapy reports, and other relevant documentation.
Jurisdictional Guidelines: Each jurisdiction may have specific guidelines or precedent-setting cases that influence the calculation of loss of consortium damages. It is crucial to consult local laws and legal precedents to understand how these damages are typically assessed in a particular jurisdiction.
It's important to note that the calculation of loss of consortium damages can be subjective and may vary on a case-by-case basis. It is advisable to consult with a qualified attorney who specializes in personal injury law to better understand how these damages may be calculated in your specific situation.
How do I go about filing a consortium claim?
Alright, I know you are probably thinking “Okay, but how do I go about this?”, we got you! Normally the claim is filed as part of the personal injury claim, your personal injury lawyer would need to establish the defendant’s fault, determine medical expenses and other costs, as well as other evidence pertaining to the overall case. We hope and do not want you or a loved one to go through a time as difficult as this, but we want you to be fully informed of all your options and if you need any more advice or more information, our lines are always open.
Just know that if you are planning to claim loss of consortium, your relationship to the victim will be under a microscope, you will be questioned and interrogated. It is not an easy process, especially after losing your loved one. During this process, the courts are trying to determine if you genuinely have relations to the victim and not fabricating information to gain financial compensation. With the combination of being interrogated for validation of your relationship with your loved one and the lack of support from said loved one, having to relive the trauma and grief is a taxing process on your mind, body, and heart.
How can Demesmin and Dover Law Firm help me with my case?
We understand what you are going through and want to do everything we can to make the process easier for you. Getting a personal injury attorney to help you navigate this challenging time could only benefit you because they are experienced with the process and will advocate for you to receive the maximum amount of financial assistance while handling your case. Our attorneys at Demesmin and Dover have you and your family’s best interest at heart and will provide you with excellent care every step of the way.
We are here to help and advise you all to make safe choices while on the road, so if you or a loved one has been in an accident contact the experienced car accident attorneys at Demesmin and Dover today. Call 866 -954- MORE (6673) for your free consultation.