Surviving spouses and family members may be able to claim a number of different damages in a wrongful death lawsuit. One of the most frequently misunderstood damages is the claim for “loss of consortium.” Here’s what you need to know about this type of claim, including what loss of consortium means and when you can file for it, who is eligible to make the claim, and how to get legal help.
What Loss of Consortium Means
Loss of consortium is often misunderstood as the loss of intimate relations between a couple, but this may be only a part of the picture. What loss of consortium is really about is the damage to the relationship that the injury or death caused. This means that a spouse who makes this claim is saying that he or she lost something important due to the accident or injury, which can include:
- Affection, comfort or solace.
- Companionship or society.
- Love or emotional support.
- Sexual relations or physical intimacy.
Loss of consortium may even include an inability to perform regular household chores or other tasks that must now be done by the surviving spouse, as well.
Who Can Make a Loss of Consortium Claim
The surviving spouse is the one who typically makes a loss of consortium claim separate from any other actions by the estate of the deceased. But did you know that children can also file for loss of consortium of a parent? The loss of a parental relationship can be devastating to both minor and adult children. The court has decided that the loss of love and affection, emotional support, care, companionship, protection, society, and services of a parent is worth compensating the children of a parent who has been killed due to negligence.
There are some cases when one may not file a loss of consortium claim. One exception is that step-children are typically unable to make this claim, unless they were adopted by the parent who was injured. Siblings also have no legal grounds for loss of consortium
Valuing a Loss of Consortium Claim
Putting a price on the loss you’ve suffered can be a challenge. The medical bills, repair or replacement of personal property, and funeral expenses are all considered economic damages, meaning that they have a dollar amount attached already in the form of bills, invoices, expenses, wages or income lost, and so on. Loss of consortium, however, is considered a non-economic damage, which means that it’s more of a challenge to quantify. Non-economic damages may be calculated as a multiplier value based on economic damages awarded, but the jury has leeway to decide an appropriate amount based on what it believes that you have lost.
How to Make a Loss of Consortium Claim
Your attorney will be able to discuss with you in detail whether you’re eligible to make this type of claim. In order to make your case for loss of consortium damages, it often comes down to your words about the nature of your relationship with the deceased. Your loss of consortium claim can be an opportunity to show the court and the jury your genuine feelings about the loss you’ve suffered and how it’s impacted your life. It can be a difficult task, but your attorney will be there for you, every step of the way.
If you’ve lost someone you love and believe you have a case for loss of consortium damages, Wayne Wright LLP would like to hear from you today. We’ve spent decades fighting for the rights of families who have lost loved ones due to negligence, carelessness, and recklessness, and we’re here to help your family when you need us. To speak to a wrongful death attorney about your legal situation, call us by phone, use the contact form to send an email, or click the live chat box on this page right now and arrange a free, no-obligation consultation today.