Following a car accident that has resulted in an injury or loss of life, it is possible to recover compensation for what is known as “loss of consortium” damages. This essentially means, the injury or wrongful death has led to a loss of companionship for spouses or family members of the injured. Working with an experienced personal injury attorney can help you to recover damages for the full extent of injury and loss your accident has led to. Fill out a contact form with our law firm for a free consultation to learn more about if you have a loss of consortium case.
As part of a personal injury lawsuit, a loss of consortium action is usually a standalone claim brought by the spouse or family member of a person who has been injured or killed as a result of the defendant’s negligent or intentional action.
The idea is that, as a result of the defendant’s conduct, the person who was injured or killed cannot provide his or her spouse or family member with the same love, affection, companionship, comfort, society, or sexual relations that were provided before the accident. So, the spouse or family member of the injured person has a claim for those losses.
Typically, claims for loss of consortium are not awarded unless the injured person dies or suffers a severe, long lasting, or permanent injury.
How is a Loss of Consortium Claim Calculated?
Loss of consortium is a type of harm that usually falls under the category of “general” or non-economic damages, meaning they are losses for which money is only a rough substitute. Other examples of general damages include:
- pain and suffering
- humiliation and embarrassment
- shock and mental anguish
- loss of reputation
- loss of society and companionship, and
- emotional distress
Typically, these kinds of losses (and their monetary value) are left to the discretion of the judge or jury. However, since these kinds of damages are also difficult to quantify, you may need to retain an expert to provide a more precise monetary value for a loss of consortium claim.
Who Can Bring a Loss of Consortium Claim?
Spouses and Partners. Historically, only spouses could bring a claim for loss of consortium. Many states, however, have relaxed this requirement to permit domestic partners to file a loss of consortium claim. The rules are different in each state.
Children and Parents. Some states also permit a child or parent to file a loss of consortium claim. In such a circumstance, the child or parent would argue that his or her injured parent or child is no longer able to provide the same level of care, nurturing, and affection as he or she provided prior to the injury. In this situation, the child or parent would have to show that the parent/child relationship was irrevocably altered by the physical injury.
Limitations on Loss of Consortium
Your loss of consortium claim may be limited by your state’s laws (or by an insurance policy). In some jurisdictions, for example, in order to bring a claim for loss of consortium, you will need to show that a valid marriage exists. So, if the couple divorced prior to the trial, the amount of damages awarded will be negatively affected. Other states may allow same-sex couples to bring loss of consortium claims, even in states where same-sex marriage is prohibited.
On the insurance side, most liability policies include “single injury” limitations. This means there is a cap on the amount covered by the insurance company per incident, and a loss of consortium claim might be treated as a separate incident for purposes of the policy.
Spanish Speaking Car Accident Lawyer in Houston, Texas
Spanish-speaking individuals can have a more difficult time seeking justice in their personal injury cases due to language barriers. This causes them to not take action against those who have left them with financial devastation and physical trauma. At the Law Office of Beverly R. Caruthers, our team refuses to let a language barrier affect your right to justice and compensation. If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident and is in need of Spanish-speaking legal advice, our team is here for you.
Personal Injury Lawyer in Houston, Texas
If you or someone you love has been involved in a car accident and suffered an injury, experienced loss of income, or are unable to work due to a car accident, you can benefit from the services of a Houston car accident expert in your personal injury case. Whether you missed work due to an injury or due to not having access to a vehicle, Attorney Beverly R. Caruthers can help you!