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What Is Loss Of Consortium?

According to a wrongful death claim lawyer, loss of consortium is a legal term for when an injured person’s spouse or family members suffer a loss of companionship, affection, assistance, or sexual relations as a result of the injuries caused by the negligence or wrongful actions of another party.

For example, if your wife is severely injured in a car accident and as a result she can no longer engage in activities she used to do, such as household chores, emotional support, or intimate relations, you, as her spouse, may file a claim for loss of consortium seeking compensation for these losses.

Loss of consortium claims vary among jurisdictions and depend on the circumstances of each case.  They are often complex and can vary in scope.  The claim may include both the loss of companionship and the loss of financial support or services that the injured person would have provided to their family if they hadn’t been injured. 

Who Can File A Loss Of Consortium Claim?

The ability to file a loss of consortium claim varies among jurisdictions and sometimes is limited by the specific circumstances surrounding the injury.  Generally, the following parties may be able to file a loss of loss of consortium claim:

  1. The most common individual to file a loss of consortium claim is the individual’s spouse.  The spouse’s claim is typically based on the loss of companionship, affection, assistance, and/or sexual relations resulting from the injury.
  2. In some jurisdictions, a legally-recognized domestic partner may also be able to file a loss of consortium claim.  The basis for the domestic partner’s claim is similar to that of a spouse.
  3. In certain instances, the child(ren) of the injured person may be able to file a loss of consortium claim, especially if they can show that the injury has significantly impacted their relationship with the injured parent in a negative way.
  4. Sometimes the parent(s) of an injured person may be able to file a loss of consortium claim.  This usually is allowed when the parent(s) were financially dependent on their child or if the injury has significantly impacted their relationship with their child in a negative way.

How Do I Prove Loss Of Consortium?

Proving a loss of consortium can be challenging, as it involves intangible losses involving the emotional impact of an injury or loss in your life due to the injury of your loved one.  To prove loss of consortium of a loved one, you must show the impact of the injury or loss upon your relationship with the injured or deceased person.  This can be proven several ways according to our friends at Kiefer & Kiefer:

  1. You need to provide documentation of the nature and extent of your relationship.  You can prove this through marriage certificates, birth certificates, family photographs, letter cards, notes, emails, text messages, and any other tangible item that illustrates the type of relationship you had with the injured or deceased person and the closeness and significance of that relationship.
  2. You can also offer the testimony of the injured person and other witnesses who can attest to the quality of your relationship with the injured person or deceased person.  These witnesses can include the injured party, family members, friends, co-workers, neighbors, or anybody else who can speak about the emotional bond and support between you and the injured party or deceased party.
  3. In some instances, you will need an expert to testify.  For example, you may need a mental health professional to establish the emotional impact of the injury or loss upon your mental health and well-being.
  4. You can also provide evidence to show the specific ways in which the injury or loss has affected your daily life, which can include a shift in household responsibilities, caregiving duties, social activities, intimacy, and emotional support and companionship.
  5. If the injury or death was due to an accident or medical malpractice, you may be able to prove your claim using medical records that document the extent of the injury, the treatment received, and the prognosis.  These records can help to establish the severity of the injury and its impact on the injured party’s ability to provide companionship, services, and support.
  6. If the injured or deceased party provided financial support, you will need to provide evidence of the loss of income, benefits, or other financial contributions.
  7. You will need to provide evidence that compares the quality of your relationship with the injured party and the injured party’s quality of life before the injury and after the injury.  You can prove this using testimony, photographs, videos or any other item that demonstrates the changes in your relationship with the injured party and your well-being.

If you need help proving loss of consortium and filing a suit, contact a lawyer near you.