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What is loss of consortium?

A serious personal injury can impact not only the injured individual but the entire family. Catastrophic injuries such as amputation, paralysis and traumatic brain damage can lead to life-long changes for the husband or wife of the injured individual. These people might be entitled to recover money through a claim of loss of consortium.

Loss of consortium is a phrase used to describe the impact of a personal injury to a married couple or, in some cases, the relationship between parents and children. Most commonly, loss of consortium refers to the loss of affection and the loss of normal marital relations. This loss can result in emotional and psychological stress.

Depending on the severity of the injury, loss of consortium damages can differ greatly from case to case. As this is a form of non-economic damage (there are no calculable costs such as prescription medication or physical therapy bills), damages are largely the result of the combination of the injury and the change in the relationship that the injury will cause. Factors such as the stability of the marriage, the duration of the marriage, each spouse’s life expectancy and the extent to which the benefits of married life were actually lost will be examined at length.

The loss of a loved one can also lead to a loss of consortium claim. When a serious accident leads to the death of a spouse, the surviving spouse might be entitled to recover additional compensation through a personal injury case. As these cases can become complex, it is important to work with an attorney who is experienced in handling a wide range of personal injury cases.

Source: FindLaw, “When Can You Sue for Loss of Consortium?” Jenny Tsay, March 28, 2014.