When someone is involved in an accident, injuries are not restricted to the victim. Family members and spouses are also often affected. Whether it's an inability to take care of themselves or play their role as spouse or parent, the impact is widespread and significant. For family members of an injured, or killed, accident victim, understanding loss of consortium is critical.
Loss of Consortium
Loss of consortium is a damage claim component. This claim is aimed at addressing the needs of the spouse and/or family members, such as children, of the injured victim. It's important to understand that this claim isn't exactly a given; there are a number of conditions that must be met before it can be awarded.
Generally, if the injured is unable to display the same level of companionship, love, intimacy or care towards their loved one or spouse after the incident, loss of consortium may be awarded. Amputation and paralysis are just two of the injury types that often fall within this category. Injuries that result in a fatality are generally automatically awarded this claim for damage.
Loss of consortium is considered a non-economic award. This means that there is no exact award amount that the court must award. For example, if you're awarded compensation for your medical bills, you know that whatever amount of money you spent out of pocket is also the amount you will be awarded. This isn't the case with loss of consortium. This award is also one of discretion, meaning that the jury or judge have the leverage to determine what amount they believe to be appropriate based on the claims.
Be prepared to have the most intimate parts of your marriage be up for discussion. As part of this process, your attorney as well as the representation of the negligent party will delve deep into the most private areas of your intimate relationship to ensure validity of your claim.
Take a spouse who is seeking compensation for their partner's inability to engage intimately, for instance. The attorneys might ask details about the frequency or manner in which you and your partner engaged in order to see just how significantly their injuries will alter your relationship in this area. Be prepared to be an open book.
If you have been affected by the injuries of your loved one, don't think you have to suffer in silence. It's a good idea to speak with a personal injury lawyer to determine what your rights for compensation are.