When you’re in an accident and you get seriously hurt with a disabling injury, it turns your entire world upside down. You’re unable to work, facing mounting medical costs and your personal relationships are damaged, possibly beyond repair. When you can’t take the same enjoyment in life or comfort from your relationships that you could before, it can have a devastating effect on your life and the lives of those around you.
When this happens, you deserve compensation for what you’ve suffered, and compensation for the relationships you’ve lost is called loss of consortium. It’s a part of the compensation you seek from any kind of accident or injury case, and a personal injury lawyer is your best bet to receive the damages that you deserve to compensate for your loss.
WHAT IS LOSS OF CONSORTIUM?
Loss of consortium is the legal term for someone losing the benefits of love, companionship and family relationships due to the injuries they suffer due to the negligence or malicious acts of another person. It can result from accidents, assault, and battery, domestic abuse, medical malpractice, wrongful death, slip and fall or premises liability or a whole range of other situations.
Any time a married person becomes a victim of another’s carelessness, irresponsibility, or deliberate malice, and they suffer a serious health issue that results, loss of consortium can be among the circumstances for which they seek compensation. It goes along with things like medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, future potential lost compensation, future possible medical care, emotional anguish, and lost quality of life.
WHO CAN FILE FOR LOSS OF CONSORTIUM?
This is an important distinction in your injury case. If you are not married, you may not be able to seek loss of consortium damages. They are in place to provide for the loss of marital relations. This includes physical, sexual relations, but it also includes love and affection, companionship, comfort and care that you get from your spouse.
While such claims are usually brought by the spouse who isn’t injured, the injured spouse sometimes can also sue, with the uninjured spouse joining that lawsuit.
WHAT ABOUT CHILDREN?
Besides married couples, loss of consortium claims can sometimes be applied to the relationship between parent and child. If a child becomes seriously injured or dies, or where injuries prevent a normal, loving parent and child relationship, you can file for a form of loss of consortium. In this case, it is referred to as filial consortium, and it’s designed to provide for the lost care, companionship and love between you and your child (or you and your parent).
DETERMINING A LOSS OF CONSORTIUM AWARD
Loss of consortium damages is part of what is called General Damages. These are in place to cover those losses that can’t easily be valued, like pain and suffering, emotional distress, mental health problems, loss of enjoyment of life and the like. Where Special Damages like medical bills and lost wages are easy to value—they have a set cost—General Damages are more subjective.
Your attorney and the courts will consider the value of your pain and suffering as it relates to your individual losses. They’ll examine factors such as how stable the marriage was before the injury occurred, the life expectancy of each member of the couple and the extent of the loss of marital benefits or relationship with children. The specific value can vary wildly in every individual case.
PROVING LOSS OF CONSORTIUM
Loss of consortium claims is different from other kinds of damages in an injury case in that you are the best person to present your evidence. There’s no expert medical testimony that can prove you’ve lost companionship, so usually, it will be your words that illustrate the loss and pain you’ve suffered.
The court is looking for the reality of your relationship, how genuine your love and companionship is, so they can value the loss. It’s important to properly prepare yourself to give this testimony, as the defense will be looking for any reason to discredit you and reduce the amount of compensation you can get through contributory negligence.
WORKING WITH A PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER
Your best bet to prepare for your case and to get the full compensation you deserve is to work with a qualified personal injury lawyer. Your attorney knows how to prepare you for your deposition and testimony, and how to fight back against bullying insurance company and defense non-payment tactics. Call the Bandas Law Firm in Texas for a free case consultation today.