What Does “Loss of Consortium” Mean?
If you’ve recently lost your spouse as the result of someone else’s negligent actions or inactions, you may have grounds to file a claim. Doing so would seek compensation to cover your loved one’s end-of-life expenses, in addition to helping you maintain financial stability.
There are a number of factors that go into deciding the value of a wrongful death claim. Some of them are calculable with dollars and cents, others are not. One of the most common noneconomic damages is loss of consortium. Let’s take a look at what that is and what payment can do for a family.
Loss of Consortium and Wrongful Death
Wrongful death claims permit spouses of fatally injured persons to recover loss of consortium damages against the negligent party. Typically, this is a standalone claim. As opposed to a calculable loss, loss of consortium is based on the idea that the person who was killed can no longer provide their spouse or family with the love, affection, companionship, comfort, or society that they provided prior to the accident.
While loss of consortium can be sought for personal injury cases not resulting in death, the likelihood of being awarded monetary recovery is slim unless the injured person now suffers from severe, or permanent injury or disability.
According to Kentucky law, a husband or wife has the right to recover damages against a third-party for the loss of consortium, so long as the wrongful death or accident resulted from negligence. In other states, however, domestic partners, children, and parents have the right to file.
Proving Loss of Consortium
Prior to seeking loss of consortium damages, there are some aspects to consider. As your lawyer will tell you, private and intimate aspects of your marriage could be put in the spotlight. You’ll need to determine if you’re willing to go through questioning regarding your marriage. If there were any hardships prior to the injury, like separation, the defense will try to use that to their advantage.
There’s no one way to prove a marriage has been and will continue to be affected by the loss of a loved one. The court, however, will likely take factors like living arrangements, care and companionship, and the state of the relationship prior to death into consideration. To prove loss of consortium, your lawyer may ask you to document the emotional impact the loss has had on you and your family. Your lawyer will also collect information about the services your spouse managed. If they paid certain bills or did certain housework, figures can be calculated.
Once your lawyer has proven loss of consortium, negotiations can begin to decide a compensation amount. We’ll make sure the offer is full and fair. We won’t accept less than you deserve.
Calculating Loss of Consortium Damages
Compensation for wrongful death is typically expressed in two ways. Economic damages take into consideration the calculable losses like medical bills, funeral and burial costs, and property damage. Noneconomic damages, while harder to calculate, look at factors like pain and suffering and loss of consortium.
Damages for loss of consortium typically fall into one of three categories: loss of support, loss of services, and loss of quality. Loss of support refers to the money an injured spouse would have contributed to the household. The lost wages the person would have contributed, in addition to the overall amount they would have made, is taken into consideration. Loss of services places value on the work the individual did around the home. Loss of quality refers to the affected marital relationship. Factors considered are love, companionship, affection, and child-rearing abilities.
The loss of consortium categories are used in conjunction with factors like the stability of a marriage, the previous life expectancy of the deceased, the nature and extent of the loss, how much companionship the surviving spouse received, and how much the relationship would have been impacted by the injuries if the decedent had survived.
Seek Recovery Today
The loss of a loved one is an overwhelmingly emotional and traumatic event, especially when their death could have been prevented. At Golden Law Office, we understand the challenges of coping with the loss of a spouse or family member. The last thing on your mind is probably the financial concerns, but failing to secure your future early could mean tremendous struggle later.
Filing a wrongful death claim will not only ensure your family has the compensation they need to get by, but the negligent party will be held accountable for their actions. Without legal representation, the process is complex. When you work with our personal injury lawyers, we’ll handle the legal matters for you, so you can spend time with your family. To get started or to learn more about the process, schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with our firm today.