How to Claim Loss of Consortium in a Personal Injury Lawsuit
California civil code provides legal remedies for spouses and registered domestic partners who have suffered because their partner was injured by the negligent or wrongful actions of a third party. This particular cause of action is known as “loss of consortium,” and it is commonly raised in personal injury lawsuits arising from car accidents, workplace injuries and other types of civil litigation.
Why does the law afford spouses the opportunity to seek financial compensation when it was their partner who was physically harmed? In many cases involving catastrophic or other life-altering injuries, the victim isn’t the only one who suffers. Their entire family endures the repercussions of caring for their injured loved one, who may be unable to work let alone perform daily tasks like housework or offering emotional support and guidance to his or her partner. Many auto accident injuries can result in lasting physical and psychological trauma that can deprive a spouse of the affection, care, love and assistance that was the foundation of their marriage before the accident.
Loss of consortium damages
Loss of consortium, also called loss of companionship, is a type of non-economic or general damages that may be sought in a personal injury claim. This cause of action accounts for the burdens, hardship and mental suffering on the part of the victim’s spouse.
Some examples of loss of consortium:
- The loss of enjoyment or reduction in sexual relations
- The loss of the ability to have children in the future
- The loss of the enjoyment of your marriage
- The loss of services (deprivation of the injured spouse’s assistance in running the home)
- The loss of financial support previously offered by the injured spouse
- The loss of moral support
- Increased economic burdens because of the injured spouses’ reduction in earnings
- The injured spouse is no longer able to provide emotional support or comfort
- The inability to enjoy certain activities together because of the injuries incurred
- Having to deal with an injured spouse who suffers from depression, anxiety and mood swings because of the accident
Proving loss of consortium
Generally speaking, in order to have a viable cause of action for loss of consortium, the spouse’s injury must be disabling in nature for a judge or jury to award monetary compensation. When determining loss of consortium damages, the courts will look at the stability and length of the marriage, the severity of the victim’s injuries, as well as the life expectancy of both partners.
If the injured spouse is expected to make a full recovery in a short period of time, the spouse may have a more difficult task in proving the requisite degree of harm suffered. As an example, a spouse would have a greater likelihood of recovering loss of consortium compensation if their partner sustained a traumatic brain injury compared to a broken arm that would heal relatively quickly.
In accidents where the health and stability of the marriage has been seriously compromised because of the injury, a loss of consortium claim can add tremendous value to the potential recovery.
Free personal injury case review
Ellis Law Corporation is a leading personal injury law firm headquartered in Los Angeles. Our legal team understands the pain, suffering and hardships that entire families face after a serious accident. If your spouse or domestic partner endured severe injury, we invite you to schedule a consultation with an experienced California personal injury lawyer free of charge by calling 1-800-INJURED.
Additional Loss of Consortium Resources:
- American Bar, Loss of Consortium: When Should You Bring the Claim http://www.americanbar.org/content/newsletter/publications/gp_solo_magazine_home/gp_solo_magazine_index/zimmer.html
- Justia, 3920. California Loss of Consortium (Noneconomic Damage) https://www.justia.com/trials-litigation/docs/caci/3900/3920.html
- Legal Dictionary, Loss of Consortium http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/loss