When someone is injured or killed due to the negligence or wrongdoing of another, loss of consortium is a claim that family members can make. Depending on the jurisdiction, the claim is usually made by a spouse or partner of an injured person and awards damages for loss of the benefit of the family relationship.
But there are variations in state rules, and some places allow parents and children to claim loss of consortium, too. Let’s take a look at the basics of this claim.
No More Consorting
- What is a consort? Traditionally, a consort was the wife or husband or companion of a monarch, usually in power. The verb to consort refers to associating with someone. The loss of consortium claim then is a claim for damages due to the loss of association.
- What does the legal claim do? The legal claim of loss of consortium attempts to quantify a loss that cannot be valued with money. Nonetheless, it exists because — however inadequate a monetary value may be to address loss emotionally — the loss of a family member or their support is made more difficult by financial difficulty.
- What are damages awarded for? Loss of consortium damages are usually awarded for loss of love, sexual relations, and other spousal services. These things do not have a dollar value per se. But you can make a defendant pay for the change in quality of life experience due to your loss.
- How do you prove a claim? In a loss of consortium claim, a court will look at a number of factors to determine the claim’s validity and value, including stability of the marriage, the couple’s life expectancy, and the extent to which the benefits of married life were actually lost. If, for example, you sue for loss of consortium because your wife is in a coma, your claim may succeed. If you sue for loss of consortium because she was in crutches for a few weeks, it’s likely to fail.
- How much can you claim? Every case differs depending on the details. States also have different rules that apply to damages and limits on recovery. No attorney can tell you what a claim is worth in the abstract.
Talk to a Lawyer:
If your spouse was killed or injured due to the negligence of another, you may be able to claim loss of consortium and recover damages from the defendant. Speak to a lawyer about the facts of your case and get an assessment. Many personal injury attorneys consult for free or no fee.
- Have an injury claim? Get your claim reviewed for free. (Consumer Injury)
- Meeting With an Injury Attorney (FindLaw)
- Fact-Finding: Understanding the Discovery Process (FindLaw)