When a car accident has impacted the life of a victim to such a degree that everyone feels it, that is loss of consortium. This damage category varies from state to state and is known by other names, such as loss of conjugal fellowship, loss of marital compatibility, and others. This form of damage is not always appropriate, but should be considered along with all the other losses like:
- Physical health
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
To find out more about loss of consortium, read on.
Who Can Sue for Loss of Consortium?
Only family members or loved ones directly affected by an accident can bring a cause of action for loss of consortium. That usually includes the spouse, child, partner, or parent of a victim in an accident. Some states preclude children from recovering loss of consortium payments and the most common familial relationship cited is usually that of a husband and wife. Depending on the laws of the state, loss of consortium means asking to be paid for the loss of affection, support, or level of care since an accident occurred. This form of damage is available for both injuries and for cases of wrongful death.
How Are These Damages Calculated?
Once a spouse or parent can prove that they have suffered a loss as a result of the accident, the dollar amount of the compensation is calculated based on several factors, such as:
- Ages and life expectancy of the parties.
- The extent of the injuries to the victim.
- The status of the relationship. (For example, a couple in the process of divorce might not be able to claim a loss of consortium.)
- The ways the party will be affected by the injury or loss of the victim.
Understanding the Losses
To further understand loss of consortium, the losses will fall into three sections: loss of services, loss of support, and loss of quality.
- Loss of services – This equates to actual tasks and chores that the injured or deceased spouse is no longer able to perform. For example, cutting the grass or walking the dog.
- Loss of support – This describes the direct payment of wages to support the spouse and household. It is similar to the loss of wages that impacts a victim and is based on the income of the victim. If both spouses contributed to the household income, the amount of compensation might be lower than if the family was entirely dependent on the wages of the injured or deceased party.
- Loss of quality – This category most often refers to those intangible benefits like love, affection, sexual pleasure, and companionship.
This type of personal injury damage can be more complex than most. You must speak to a personal injury attorney about your case to find out more about this category of damages.