It’s not always easy to get compensation for a loss of consortium. Unlike more immediately apparent losses such as medical expenses and lost wages, the emotional and psychological effects of an injury or wrongful death on a relationship or family can be difficult to show when filing a compensation claim. However, this certainly does not mean it’s impossible and it certainly does not mean you should not try. In this post, our experienced attorneys answer your questions regarding loss of consortium such as “What is loss of consortium worth?” and more.
Contact Gordon & Gordon today to speak to a Shreveport loss of consortium attorney about your damages if your spouse was hurt as a result of someone else’s negligence.
What is Loss of Consortium?
Loss of consortium is a type of personal harm that refers to the breakdown of a spousal relationship as a result of a negligently caused event. A claim is not for your spouse’s injuries, but for the impact that the injuries or death have had on the marriage.
A loss of consortium case is frequently a stand-alone case brought by the spouse, partner, or family member of a person who has been injured or murdered as a result of the defendant’s negligent or malicious behavior as part of a personal injury lawsuit.
The idea is that the person who was injured or died cannot give his or her spouse, partner, or family member the same love, affection, companionship, comfort, social, or sexual connections as before the accident. As a result, the injured person’s spouse or a family member has a viable claim for those damages.
These claims are typically not paid unless the injured person dies or suffers a serious, long-term, or permanent injury. It’s important to keep in mind that loss of consortium is a separate claim from the victim’s personal injury or wrongful death claim in Louisiana.
How Do You Prove Loss of Consortium?
It’s tough to put a monetary figure on your sorrow. Therefore, proving loss of consortium can be challenging. Furthermore, looking into your marital history and bringing it to the attention of the courts might be a touchy subject for some.
You can prove your claim using a number of methods, most of which will rely on the existing personal injury or wrongful death claim. You can then use evidence from the existing claim to establish the injury and the defendant’s negligence. Your marriage license or domestic partnership registration can also establish your legal right to this compensation.
The next method is often the most challenging component of your claim. Since loss of consortium relies on your personal experiences and how the accident affected you and your spouse’s relationship, you will need to produce evidence that proves these elements. Having friends, relatives, doctors, or other parties testify to the nature of your relationship is one way to go about this.
How Does a Judge Decide Whether a Spouse Lost Consortium?
In other words, how can you show that your marriage suffered as a result of your spouse’s injury? When making their decision, the courts will consider the length of the marriage, the stability of the relationship, and the types of activities the couple did together prior to the injury. They will also consider whether there was a history of domestic violence in the relationship and whether the couple was still engaging in marital relations before the injury.
Who Can Bring a Loss of Consortium Claim?
Partners and spouses. In the past, only spouses were able to bring a loss of consortium claim. Many states have modified this threshold, allowing domestic partners to pursue a claim for loss of consortium, as well.
Parents and children. A child or parent may also pursue a claim for loss of consortium in several states. In such a case, the child or parent would argue that the injured person is no longer capable of providing the same amount of care, nurturing, and loving as before the accident. In this case, the child or parent would have to establish that the physical harm had irreversibly affected the parent-child relationship.
What to Consider Before Making a Loss of Consortium Claim
The sensitive and intimate features of your marriage or relationship will be brought to light if you file a claim. If your marriage had experienced any difficulties prior to the injury, such as infidelity, separation, criminal charges, or abuse, the circumstances surrounding those issues will almost certainly be discussed at length in front of the judge and jury and will become part of the public record. As a result, you should decide if you are willing to bear the rigors of the defense attorney’s interrogation throughout deposition and trial. If you decide to pursue a loss of consortium claim, speak with an experienced personal injury attorney for more information regarding these aspects.
How to File a Loss of Consortium Claim
To make a successful claim, the plaintiff must show four things in general:
- A valid marriage or domestic partnership exists.
- A third party’s negligence resulted in the victim’s injury.
- The victim’s spouse experienced a loss of consortium.
- The victim’s injury has resulted in the loss of consortium.
How To Calculate Loss of Consortium Damages
The purpose of a claim is to seek to compensate spouses or domestic partners when their relationship is seriously disrupted by an injury to their spouse. But what is loss of consortium worth? Because it is difficult to put a monetary figure on these losses, they are classified as “non-economic” or “generic” damages — the same category as pain and suffering damages. This implies that it is a loss for which money is just a rough substitute. Humiliation and embarrassment are further examples of general harms, as well as mental suffering, loss of reputation, and loss of society and friendship.
These types of losses (and their monetary value) are usually up to the judge or jury’s discretion. Due to the difficulty of quantifying these types of damages, you may need to hire an expert to establish a more specific monetary value for your claim.
Limitations on Loss of Consortium
It’s important to remember that your claim may be limited by your state’s laws or by an insurance policy. In some jurisdictions, for example, in order to bring a claim for loss of consortium, you will need to show that a valid marriage exists. So, if the couple divorced prior to the trial, the number of damages may be negatively affected.
On the insurance side, most liability policies include “single injury” limitations. This means there is a cap on the amount of coverage by the insurance company per incident, and a loss of consortium claim might be a separate incident for purposes of the policy.
What Damages are Not Recoverable?
The plaintiff’s loss of consortium damages does not include the loss of financial support from the injured spouse and personal services, such as nursing, that the plaintiff has provided or will provide to the injured spouse. Also not included is any loss of earnings incurred by the plaintiff as a result of quitting his or her job to care for the injured spouse or the cost of hiring domestic help to replace services that were once provided by the injured spouse.
However, damages for the losses listed below are, in fact, recoverable:
- Moral support
- Sexual relations
- The ability to have children
Contact Shreveport, Bossier City, and Mansfield Attorneys Gordon & Gordon Today
Your spouse’s injuries or untimely death can be a challenging process to endure. At Gordon and Gordon, our Northwest Louisiana personal injury attorneys can guide you through the complicated legal procedures with empathy and compassion. To learn more about how we may assist you, call us at (318) 716-4357 today.