What is Loss of Consortium?
Posted On behalf of Pfeifer Morgan & Stesiak on Sep 06, 2017 in Personal Liability
The goal of any personal injury claim is to obtain compensation for damages caused by another party's negligence. While most damages are based on injuries suffered by the victim, some are based on the suffering of the victim's loved ones, like his or her spouse.
One of these types of damages is loss of consortium, which attempts to compensate the injury victim's loved ones for the effect that his or her injuries or death have had on their relationship.
Below, the seasoned personal injury lawyers in South Bend at Pfeifer, Morgan & Stesiak provide answers to some frequently asked questions about loss of consortium. Contact our office to schedule a free case review to find out how we can help you pursue compensation for loss of consortium and other damages.
Who Can Claim Loss of Consortium in Indiana?
Many states allow individuals who depend on the accident victim for support to pursue compensation for loss of consortium. This often includes the victim’s children, as well as his or her spouse.
However, Indiana courts have consistently stated that the only person who can claim loss of consortium is the victim's spouse, provided he or she was legally married to the victim at the time of the accident. A long-term partner does not have standing to claim loss of consortium.
What Types of Damages are Included in Loss of Consortium?
The purpose of claiming loss of consortium is to obtain compensation for the effects of your spouse's death or injuries on your marital relationship, including physical, financial and emotional effects. This could include compensation for any of the following losses:
You can claim these damages if your spouse died from the accident or suffered injuries so severe that they affect your marital relationship, such as not being able to care for your family, perform favored leisure activities or have a normal sexual relationship.
What Factors Do Juries Consider When Evaluating Loss of Consortium?
Loss of consortium claims are often subjective in nature and are left to the discretion of the jury to calculate. Some of the factors that juries may consider include:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Shock and mental anguish
- Loss of income and benefits
- Emotional distress
- Humiliation and embarrassment
- Expected recovery period
- Stability of the marriage
- Life expectancy of the victim
- How the marital relationship has changed since the accident
While many of these factors are difficult to quantify, loss of consortium claims can also involve economic damages. For example, if a stay-at-home parent was injured and can no longer care for his or her children, these damages may seek to replace the services of the parent by a paid caregiver.
How Do You Prove Loss of Consortium?
Establishing that another person's negligence caused your spouse’s injuries or death does not prove loss of consortium. Your attorney must be able to provide evidence of the losses you have suffered because of your spouse’s injury. You may have to testify about these losses and the private details of your marriage.
Contact a South Bend Personal Injury Lawyer Right Away
Whether your loved one suffered a serious injury or was tragically killed in an accident, it is crucial to discuss your situation with an experienced personal injury lawyer.
The reputable lawyers at our firm are prepared to conduct a thorough investigation to determine how your spouse’s injury has affected you and your family.
We work on a contingency fee basis and only get paid if you recover on your claim. Schedule a no-obligation consultation of your case to discuss the options that may be available.
Contact us at (844) 678-1800 to get started today.