How Is Loss of Consortium Calculated?
In a personal injury case, the victim who suffers injuries directly suffers the most significant impact on his quality of life – but he is not the only one affected. These injuries often have a direct, terrible impact on the victim’s loved ones, especially on the husband or wife.
Loss of consortium is the legal term used to describe the impact an injury has on relationships, companionship, and support lost due to an injury. The uninjured spouse in a personal injury case often has the right to file a separate claim to recover non-economic damages in these cases.
Loss of consortium: Legal definition
In the state of California, loss of consortium is defined as:
- The loss of love, companionship, comfort, care, assistance, protection, affection, society, and moral support; and
- The loss of the enjoyment of sexual relations, or the ability to have children.
Common accidents that lead to loss of consortium claims
Any injury that materially affects the victim’s ability to perform his functions and activities as a spouse, or which affects his mood in such a way as to harm the marriage, can lead to a loss of consortium claim. Injuries commonly come from:
- Automobile accidents
- Slip-and-fall accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Defective product claims
Loss of consortium claims can also be brought against perpetrators of intentional crimes, such as battery, assault, and rape.
Loss of consortium: Wrongful death and personal injury
Spouses are usually eligible to file a loss of consortium claim under two scenarios:
- Injury: If your spouse is injured and that injury materially affects your marriage, you may be eligible to file a loss of consortium claim. This includes injuries that affect the victim’s mental state, including some side effects of drugs or other medications administered during treatment or recovery.
- Wrongful death: If your spouse dies due to the negligence of another, it goes without saying that this materially affects your marriage. Spouses in these cases can file a wrongful death lawsuit that includes damages for loss of consortium.
Even though the uninjured spouse was not the direct victim in these cases, the negative impacts on his or her life and families are very real and significant. Furthermore, loss of consortium does not have to be permanent for you to file a claim.
The value of your claim
Because loss of consortium is non-economic damage, the value of your claim will be decided at the discretion of the judge or jury, who will typically try to provide you with fair compensation. There are also legal limits and insurance policy caps that limit the amount of non-economic damages you can receive in specific cases. Medical malpractice cases, for example, have a limit of $250,000 in non-economic damages.
At Aghabegian and Associates, PC, our experienced Glendale personal injury lawyers will take the time to speak with you and your family, as well as medical and social experts, in calculating the maximum compensation, and we will seek this compensation from the insurance company or in court.
Proving your claim
To file a loss of consortium claim, your case must be supported by specific types of evidence when presented to the court:
- That you had a legal, valid marriage
- That your spouse was wrongfully injured
- That you suffered a loss of consortium
- That your loss of consortium was caused by the injury
If your relationship was troubled before the injury occurred, it might be challenging to prove that an injury substantially affected your marriage. Establishing these claims can be challenging in some cases, which is why you should always retain an experienced Glendale personal injury attorney to assist you in filing a loss of consortium case.
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