Married personal injury plaintiffs are often surprised to discover that their spouses may also have a claim for damages that relates to their injuries. However, if you stop to think about it, a claim for “loss of consortium” made by the spouse of an injured accident victim makes perfect sense — and it is more than fair for at-fault parties to compensate spouses for their loss of consortium damages.
Loss of consortium is a legal term that relates to the way a spouse’s injuries negatively affect other family members. Imagine, for example, that the injured spouse was a homemaker and took care of the house and children full-time. If injuries prevent this spouse from taking care of these responsibilities, the family will suffer financially if it wants to hire a nanny and housekeeper to attend to these duties.
What kinds of damages can be included in a loss of consortium claim?
The types of damages that spouses and other family members can include in a loss of consortium claim will be different depending on the situation. Here some damages that family members might claim.
Lost affection: Lost affection might apply to both spouses and children of the injured party.
Lost companionship: Spouses are our primary companions in life, but an injury can interfere with this relationship, representing a significant loss.
Lost parenting: When a parent can no longer perform his or her role as a parent because of an injury, the entire family suffers.
Lost care: Spouses take care of one another as well as the children of the family. If a primary family caretaker becomes ill, this will create a significant strain on the family.
Lost sexual relationship: Some spouses may be able to pursue damages relating to their lost sexual relationship with their injured spouse.
Lost households services: The value of household services performed by a spouse can be estimated and included as damages in a loss of consortium claim.
Lost repair services: Many spouses perform numerous home maintenance services for their families. These services are expensive and could represent an additional financial burden for the family that needs to replace his or her “handyman/woman.”
Lost enjoyment of life: Were the two spouses dance partners who enjoyed dancing every weekend? The loss of one’s dance partner, or partner in some other activity, could represent a significant loss in quality of life.
Was your spouse injured in a serious accident?
If your spouse was injured in a serious accident, you might want to explore whether you can pursue a claim for loss of consortium. Every case will be different, however, so it’s important to learn more about your legal rights and options before including a claim for loss of consortium in your spouse’s personal injury lawsuit.