Can You Sue Someone For Loss of Consortium?
When your spouse or registered domestic partner suffers a personal injury caused by another person’s wrongful act or negligence, you can seek legal recovery by suing for loss of consortium. California law recognizes that the spouses and partners of a personal injury victim also suffer losses, and are therefore entitled to monetary compensation.
Loss of consortium is a legal term for the deprivation of benefits of a familial relationship following an injury or wrongful death. Recovery for loss of consortium does not include economic damages such as the injured partner’s loss of income or medical expenses. Loss of consortium is a category of non-economic damages, similar to a claim for pain and suffering. Non-economic damages are less tangible and more subjective. They cannot be proven with diagnostic tests and medical records, which is why it’s necessary to work with a reputable personal injury lawyer who can show how your spouse’s injury has affected your relationship and day-to-day life.
What does loss of consortium encompass?
There is a common misconception that a loss of consortium claim is based solely on sexual relations. For example, a man is paralyzed in a car accident and is physically unable to have sexual relations with his spouse or partner. While this type of intimacy is certainly part of it, loss of consortium encompasses a much broader set of losses and hardships.
In California, a spouse or partner suing for loss of consortium can recover money damages for:
- Loss of comfort
- Loss of solace
- Loss of affection
- Loss of moral support
- Loss of love
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of conjugal society
- Inability to have children
- Loss of protection
- Loss of services, such as the spouse’s running of the household
Who can sue for loss of consortium in California?
Some states allow parents and children of the injured person to sue for loss of consortium, but California does not. In order to seek these damages, you must be legally married to or registered as a domestic partner to the injured party. There are no exceptions here, not even for couples who were engaged at the time of the injury.
Negative effects on a partnership or marriage
When your life partner is badly hurt, their physical and emotional suffering can severely impact those who are closest to them. Whether they were injured in a motorcycle crash, a construction site accident, or some other senseless mishap, you are likely suffering too.
The following are some examples of hardships cited in loss of consortium claims:
- Your spouse can no longer help take care of your children
- Your spouse is unable to perform normal household chores
- Your spouse is no longer able to provide you comfort and guidance
- You are no longer able to participate in certain activities together
- The quality of your marriage has diminished
- You cannot have children that you wanted
Proving loss of consortium
For domestic partners and married couples to recover compensation for loss of consortium, the courts will look at several variables, including:
- The length of your marriage or legal union
- The stability of your relationship
- The type of companionship and care that is shared
- Your individual life expectancies prior to the accident
- Your current living arrangements
- Each of your roles in regard to child-rearing and running a house
- The severity of the injuries, and whether there is permanent disability
The amount of compensation awarded for loss of consortium will largely hinge on the facts of the personal injury and the severity of the resulting losses. Six and seven-figure awards are not unusual in cases where the victim is incapacitated, changing the dynamics of a marital relationship or union.
Protect your rights to fair compensation
If your partner or spouse was wrongfully injured and you need expert legal advice, reach out to Ellis Injury Law for a free consultation with an experienced Los Angeles personal injury attorney.
The loss of emotional support, affection, and companionship should be compensated, and our legal team has the resources and skill to fight for the justice you deserve.