Loss of Consortium
Loss of consortium is a claim you may file when there is a disruption of the marriage relationship caused by an injury. Marriage is a legally sanctioned relationship. When you or your marriage partner are injured in a way that interferes with your relationship with each other, you may be able to receive damages for loss of consortium. Loss of consortium goes beyond the sexual relationship between a husband and wife. It also includes aspects of your relationship that provide you with support, affection and companionship and may be filed by the non-injured spouse in conjunction with the injured spouse’s claim.
Support refers to your spouse’s ability to help you with household and family duties. For example, if your spouse is injured in a car accident, and as a result of that car accident he can no longer help you with disciplining and raising your children, you have lost a significant amount of support in raising your family. Support can also refer to your spouse’s ability to provide income. If your spouse can no longer help support the family financially, you take on a tremendous burden to provide for your family on your own.
Affection refers to the special relationship you have with your spouse. If your spouse is no longer able to show you affection and your relationship suffers
from your spouse’s injuries, filing for loss of consortium may provide you with some compensation for the ways the injury has affected the sentiment between you and your spouse.
Companionship refers to your ability to share your life with your spouse. If your spouse is in a coma as the result of an accident, your spouse no longer provides you with the same type of companionship you once shared. This may be grounds to file for loss of consortium. An experienced accident attorney should be able to help you determine if you have a strong enough case for a loss of consortium claim.
The distinctions between support, affection and companionship are not hard and fast, but serve to define the non-economical benefits of being united in marriage. There is a lot of debate about how to place monetary value on non-economic losses, but there are formulas that help calculate such losses. An attorney in your state should be aware of these formulas and the experts needed to substantiate claims for loss of consortium.
It is important to be aware that if you file a claim for loss of consortium, your sex life and relationship with your spouse will be scrutinized in court proceedings. Sometimes, a claim for loss of consortium can even weaken your injury claim. Therefore, it is important to consider if the benefits of pursuing such a claim outweigh the potential costs.
In some states, loss of consortium is included in general damages and cannot be filed for separately. In other states, you must specifically file for loss of consortium. An attorney in your state should know what damages you are able to file for.