When a person gets injured or killed in an accident, the spouse and family can also suffer losses of their own. The purpose of loss of consortium claims is to compensate people close to the person who got hurt for the damages they experienced because of their loved one’s serious injury or death.
What Loss of Consortium Means
If a person recovers from an injury without long-term impairment, she can go back to the role she had in the family before the accident. With permanent impairment or death, the injured person might not be able to provide the family with the previous level of:
- Love or affection
- Social interaction
- Sexual relations
Loss of these things may constitute loss of consortium, for which the spouse, children, and other family members may recover compensation.
Physical Injury Required
If the injured person did not sustain a physical injury, there is usually no loss of consortium claim for the spouse or family. For example, the innocent driver in a road rage incident experienced extreme terror during the event but managed to escape without physical injury. The spouse of the innocent driver cannot file a claim for loss of consortium.
On the other hand, if the innocent driver sustained catastrophic physical injuries in a car accident that adversely affected her relationship with her spouse, the spouse might have a valid claim for loss of consortium.
What Kinds of Injury Cases May Include Loss of Consortium Claims
Permanent impairment. For example, a newlywed sustained a traumatic brain injury in a car accident. Because of her injury, she experienced permanent locked-in syndrome, unable to move or communicate. She was aware and awake, but unable to interact.
She has lost the kind of life she would have had, and so has her spouse, who lost the love, affection, and companionship of his wife. Her husband has a claim for loss of consortium.
Death. For example, a father of school-aged children died in a car accident. His wife lost her life companion and partner. The children lost the guidance and comfort of their father. The spouse and children may be wrongful death beneficiaries with a claim for loss of consortium.
How Georgia Law Calculates Loss of Consortium
If a case goes to trial, the judge or jury will decide how much the family has lost as a result of the physical harm and impairment or death. The judge or jury has discretion on this issue, but sometimes lawyers use expert witnesses to explain to the judge or jury the justification for awarding a particular dollar amount.
How to Determine if You Have a Loss of Consortium Claim
The good news is that you do not have to figure out whether you have a possible claim for loss of consortium for your spouse’s injury on your own. Just call S. Burke Law at 404-842-7838 for your free consultation. We will answer your questions about loss of consortium claims and help you pursue compensation. There is no charge for the consultation and no obligation.