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What Is Loss of Consortium In A Personal Injury Claim?

The Hidden Side: Loss of Consortium in Injury Cases

We shouldn’t underestimate accidents, even when minor. Besides causing physical injuries, they can also induce severe psychological and emotional suffering. Sadly, there are many accidental injuries in the United States. 

In 2020, 200,955 of them even resulted in death. Coping with the death or severe injury of a loved one is always challenging and can bring in a whirlwind of emotions. However, there’s a way to ease the grieving process for you and your family.

Read on to discover how a personal injury lawyer can help when filing for a loss of consortium claim.

Quick Summary

Below is an overview of the critical points of this blog article.

  • Loss of consortium is a claim you can make if someone you’re close to is hurt because of someone else’s carelessness. It’s about the relationship between you and the person who got hurt.
  • To claim loss of consortium, you usually must be a spouse or a parent of the injured person.
  • In California, only a spouse or registered domestic partner who wasn’t hurt can seek compensation for loss of consortium. Unmarried partners and cohabitants aren’t eligible.
  • When an accident or injury significantly impacts a person’s role as a spouse, they may have a loss of consortium case. This can happen in various situations, such as car accidents, slips and falls, or assault.
  • To prove loss of consortium in California, you must show four things to the court: being legally married or in a registered domestic partnership with the injured person, the injury caused by someone else’s negligence, experiencing a loss of companionship, and how the injury affected the relationship with your spouse or partner.
  • You seek compensation from the responsible party’s insurance company to file a loss of consortium claim. You explain how the incident affected your relationship and why you deserve compensation. It’s essential to prove your claim is valid and give the insurance company time to investigate it. 
  • In a loss of consortium claim, the spouse can seek compensation for the effects on their relationship. This includes the inability to have sex, losing companionship, help with chores, emotional support, and affection.
  • You can’t get compensation for loss of consortium for things like losing financial support or having to take care of your injured spouse. It also doesn’t cover losing money from quitting your job to care for them or paying for household chores they would have done.
  • If your spouse is partially responsible for the accident, your compensation for loss of consortium could be reduced. California’s comparative negligence laws lower your compensation based on the degree of your spouse’s fault.
  • If your spouse is permanently injured, you can receive compensation until the expected end of their life. Their life expectancy determines this before the injury.
  • Children cannot claim loss of consortium in California, which includes compensation for the love, care, and support they lost from their parents due to an accident. Although this loss is significant for a child’s emotional well-being, the law does not permit children to seek compensation for it.
  • Deciding whether to file a loss of consortium claim can be tough. It can bring benefits, but the process can be emotional and challenging. The court will look at your relationship closely, considering things like how long you’ve been together, if there was abuse, where you lived, and what you did together.

Loss of Consortium Definition

The loss of consortium action is a claim you can file if you are a victim’s relative, partner, or spouse who has suffered an injury caused by a third party’s negligence. In this case, the consortium is the relationship between the victim and the plaintiff. 

The compensation is non-economic or general since it claims damages done to the relationship. These types of damages include loss of companionship, comfort, and affection. They also pinpoint sexual constraints and the inability to conceive in romantic relationships.

Who Is Eligible?

There are specific criteria for who can file a loss of consortium. In most states, you can only file a claim if referring to a spousal or parent-child relationship. Keep in mind that each state has different rules. 

Some exclude domestic partners and only award this claim to spouses. Others don’t even award the claim to children and parents.

Can a Registered Domestic Partner File a Loss of Consortium Claim in California?

In California, only a spouse or registered domestic partner who hasn’t been hurt can ask for compensation for loss of consortium. Unmarried partners and cohabitants can’t get this compensation. Marriage in California is when two people agree to be spouses, get a marriage license, have a ceremony, and register the marriage. 

A registered domestic partnership in California is when two adults agree to share their lives committedly without getting married. They must meet specific rules and register with the California Secretary of State.

What Accidents and Situations Can Lead to Loss of Consortium Claims?

A loss of consortium case can happen if an accident or injury greatly affects someone’s ability to do things as a spouse. Examples of cases that might lead to this include:

  • Car accidents
  • Truck accidents
  • Defective product claims
  • Slip and fall injuries
  • Boating accidents
  • Motorcycle crashes
  • Train accidents
  • Amusement park accidents
  • Assault and acts of violence

You must file a loss of consortium claim within the time limit set by the state’s laws. You can’t ask for compensation for your losses if you miss this deadline.

How Can I Prove the Loss of Consortium?

To get compensation for loss of consortium in California, you need to prove these four things to the court:

  • You were legally married to or in a registered domestic partnership with the person who was hurt or killed in the accident
  • Your spouse or partner was hurt or killed because of someone else’s carelessness
  • You have experienced a loss of companionship and support
  • The injury led to the loss of companionship and support for your spouse or partner

In a loss of consortium claim, the person filing the claim must show they were legally married or in a registered partnership with the injured person when the accident happened. They must also prove that someone else did something wrong to their spouse or partner and that this action caused the injury.

How Can I File a Loss of Consortium Claim?

You ask the responsible party’s insurance company for compensation in a loss of consortium claim. You explain the facts, laws, and how the incident affected your relationship and ability to provide love and companionship. 

It’s crucial to prove the elements of a valid claim and give the insurance company time to investigate before expecting an offer. Consulting a personal injury lawyer can help guide you through this process.

What Damages Are Available in My Loss of Consortium Claim?

If someone gets hurt, their spouse can also ask for compensation for the impact on their relationship. This compensation can cover things like:

  • Not being able to have sex with your injured spouse
  • Losing the companionship of your spouse
  • Being unable to help with chores or take care of children
  • Losing emotional support, comfort, and help
  • Losing care, love, and affection

What Damages Are Not Available?

Damages for loss of consortium do not include:

  • Not getting the money your injured spouse would have provided
  • Taking care of your injured spouse by yourself or with a nurse
  • Losing money because you quit your job to take care of your injured spouse
  • Paying for someone to do household chores your injured spouse would have done

How Does Comparative Negligence Affect My Loss of Consortium Claim?

If your spouse was partly responsible for the accident, your compensation for loss of consortium might be less. California’s comparative negligence laws mean your compensation goes down based on how much your spouse was at fault.

What If the Injury to My Spouse Is Permanent?

If your spouse’s injury is permanent, you can get compensation until the expected end of the shorter-lived spouse’s life. This is based on how long your spouse was expected to live before they got hurt.

Can My Children File for Loss of Consortium Damages?

If a child of the injured person wants to claim loss of consortium, they’re asking for the loss of love, care, and support from their parents due to an accident. Even though this is important for a child’s emotional growth, California law doesn’t allow children to claim this loss.

Should You File A Loss of Consortium?

A loss of consortium can bring many benefits to partners, spouses, and family members. However, the entire process can be turbulent and emotionally draining. The lawyer and court will scrutinize your relationship to determine whether it was stable before the injury.

As a result, many questions will be considered, including the duration and nature of your relationship, history of abuse, living arrangements, which activities you did together, and so on. So, before starting the process, be prepared for emotionally challenging situations.

Consult With an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney

Your loved one’s insurance policy and personal injury case are closely intertwined with the success of your loss of consortium claim. Therefore, you must consult with attorneys who have knowledge in insurance and personal injury.

And Haffner Law is a perfect choice. Our team consists of highly qualified attorneys practicing personal injury, bad faith insurance, property damage, and class action lawsuits. We are experienced, reliable, and ready to get our clients the justice they deserve.

Schedule a free case review today with our hardworking legal team and get all your legal questions answered! Our team can also assist you with Lyft Accidents, Uber Accidents, and USPS Accidents.

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