When someone gets seriously hurt in a car accident, if the victim has a spouse, this husband or wife will also suffer damages. Although these damages will not be connected to any personal injuries, they could have a significantly negative impact on the spouse's life -- which is why spouse's may be able to pursue a "loss of consortium" claim after their significant other gets hurt.
Here are a few of the most common questions injured spouses have about loss of consortium:
What does "consortium" mean?
Consortium is a legal term derived from "consort," which is another word for the husband, wife or companion of a king or queen. It's also a word that describes someone who is associated with someone else. A "loss of consortium" claim seeks to recover damages relating to the loss of relationship benefits enjoyed by the spouse before the accident and injuries.
What kind of damages can spouses pursue?
Spouses can usually pursue financial compensation for their emotional suffering caused by the loss of relationship, in addition to compensation for the loss of services that the injured spouse formerly provided.
What's needed to pursue the claim?
Courts will usually ask loss of consortium claimants to prove that they were in a stable marriage. They'll also need to prove the life expectancy of both spouses and identify the exact types of losses that the uninjured spouse endured.
How much money can I claim for damages?
The value of a loss of consortium claim depends entirely on the facts of the case. For example, one must examine the nature and extent of the injuries, the permanence of the injuries, the nature of the relationship and the spouses, and the value of the various services that the injured spouse was formerly providing.
Did the spouse perform a variety of household services or child care services? How much will it cost to replace the spouse with a housekeeping assistant and child care provider? Also, what is the extent of the emotional pain endured by the uninjured spouse?
In most cases that involve a seriously injured spouse, the couple would be remiss in not examining whether a suitable case of loss of consortium can be made. It's possible that such a claim could increase the amount of damages in a personal injury case considerably.