When an accident occurs, a lot of people are hurt. Victims and their families can have their lives changed drastically and may have to bear the consequences of someone else’s negligence for years to come. One of these consequences is a loss of consortium, which occurs when an accident victim loses the ability to provide their spouse with love, affection, sexual intimacy, and companionship. Many people don’t realize that injured victims can file a personal injury lawsuit on loss of consortium alone in order to receive financial compensation. This may leave you wondering: what is loss of consortium worth in a personal injury lawsuit? Our Albany personal injury lawyers explain how loss of consortium damages are calculated in civil claims.
If your spouse’s injuries have negatively affected your marital relationship, you may be able to receive financial compensation for loss of consortium. An Albany personal injury attorney at Bailey, Johnson & Peck can accurately calculate loss of consortium damages in a civil lawsuit.
While a personal injury suit can’t change the past, an experienced attorney can at least help you and your family member receive the compensation you deserve. Call us at (518) 456-0082 to speak to one of our attorneys and schedule a free initial consultation.
What is Loss of Consortium?
Consortium loss is a legal term that refers to the loss of spousal or familial relations after a loved one is injured or killed. Where personal injury claims can help an injury victim claim receive compensation, loss of consortium claims help the injury victim’s spouse or other close family members receive compensation.
Important Elements of a Loss of Consortium Claim
Loss of consortium claims are civil claims, like personal injury claims, that are made by the injury victim’s spouse. In order for a loss of consortium claim for it to be valid and potentially successful, the victim’s injuries must have been the result of someone else’s negligence.
The injuries must have also caused their spouse to experience a loss of support or companionship. This can come in many forms, including emotional support, moral support, sexual intimacy, affection, comfort, love, and companionship. For example, if an accident hinders a victim’s ability to engage in sexual relations, their non-injured spouse could make a claim for loss of consortium.
If your loved one was the victim of an accident that caused you to experience a loss of consortium, the experienced Albany wrongful death lawyers at Bailey, Johnson & Peck, P.C. are here to help. With over 40 years of experience filing personal injury and wrongful death claims in Albany, NY, we know the ins and outs of the New York legal system and can help you file your loss of consortium claim correctly. Call us at (518) 456-0082 and schedule a free consultation with a member of our team.
Common Accidents That Can Lead to a Loss of Consortium Claim
Many accidents can lead to a loss of consortium claim. A person can experience loss of consortium if their spouse was involved in a car accident, slip and fall accident, workplace accident, or medical malpractice accident. As long as the victim’s injuries cause a loss of consortium, the victim’s spouse can file a claim for compensation.
Common Types of Injuries That Can Lead to a Loss of Consortium Claim
There are a few kinds of injuries that can lead to a loss of consortium, including catastrophic injuries and injuries that alter the victim’s mental state. Loss of consortium claims often involve severe injuries like spinal cord injuries, which can cause the victim to be paralyzed. This can prevent them from providing for their loved ones and engaging in marital relations with their spouse. This kind of permanent injury can also cause the victim’s spouse to become their caregiver, which can alter their relationship.
Other injuries that can lead to a loss of consortium include:
- Traumatic brain injuries;
- Crush injuries;
- Organ damage or dysfunction;
- Sexual dysfunction;
- Burn injuries;
- Vision or hearing loss;
- Nerve damage; and
- Chronic pain.
If your spouse suffered injury due to another person’s negligence, you may be able to recover non-economic damages from the responsible party. Call Bailey, Johnson & Peck today at (518) 456-0082 and schedule your free consultation today.
Who Can File a Loss of Consortium Claim in New York?
In New York, only spouses are able to file loss of consortium claims and recover damages. In order to file a valid loss of consortium claim, the injured victim and his or her spouse must be able to prove they were in a valid marriage before the accident occurred. If the victim was found to be wrongfully injured, their non-injured spouse may be able to secure a loss of consortium settlement.
In many states, loss of consortium claims can be made by domestic partners and even parents of injured children, but New York has yet to allow this. Even in cases where an established domestic partnership exists, the state may not allow them to receive compensation for loss of companionship, support, and love.
How to Prove Loss of Consortium in New York
In a wrongful death or personal injury case, proving loss of consortium requires proving negligence. Negligence occurs when someone breaches their “duty of care” to another person. In the case of car accidents, all drivers have a duty of care to other drivers, meaning they must obey traffic laws and behave in a way that minimizes the risk of causing someone else harm. If someone breaches this duty of care, they can be found negligent.
Next, the person seeking loss of consortium damages must prove that they were in a spousal relationship with the injury victim. They must also prove that their spouse’s injuries caused them to experience a loss of love, companionship, or sexual relations. If the uninjured spouse can prove they experienced loss as a result of their spouse’s injuries, they may be able to recover damages from the negligent party.
Proving a loss of consortium can be difficult, which is why it’s important to hire a trusted law firm that can evaluate the facts of the case and present them to the court in a convincing way.
What to Consider Before Filing a Loss of Consortium Claim
There are many things to consider before filing a claim for loss of consortium. First and foremost, a loss of consortium case may require someone to discuss how their spouse’s injury has affected their ability to be intimate with their injured spouse. While it may be difficult or uncomfortable to disclose this information in court, it may be necessary in recovering loss of consortium damages.
In any loss of consortium case, the court will review the status and the state of the relationship between the victim and the person claiming to have lost consortium. In New York, the only person who can file a loss of consortium claim is the spouse of the victim. Even those in an established domestic partnership may not be awarded compensation for their losses. If the couple was not in a valid marriage, they may lose the ability to make a loss of consortium claim.
The court may examine the couple’s relationship to determine the extent of the damages that the injury caused. For example, if a married couple had an amicable relationship, lived together, and engaged in sexual activities regularly, they may be given a higher settlement amount. In contrast, if a couple has separate living arrangements or rarely engaged in sexual relations before the accident, they may not receive as much. Any claims of domestic violence may also cause the court to lower settlement amounts or even deny claims of lost consortium.
Another thing to consider is that a loss of consortium claim is often included in a personal injury claim or wrongful death claim, meaning the victim’s spouse will not have to file a separate claim to receive compensation. Also, loss of consortium damages are non-economic, meaning the uninjured spouse cannot make a claim for financial losses as a result of their spouse’s injuries. Compensation for the cost of medical bills, lost wages, lost financial support, and personal services like caregiving are often covered in a personal injury or wrongful death case.
Loss of Consortium Damages
When someone is injured in an accident, they may file a claim with their insurance company and use medical records and missed pay stubs as proof of their monetary losses. But how do you put a price on things like loss and affection?
Loss of consortium claim damages are awarded to help supplement the spouse of the victim for the loss of non-economic things, like the loss of companionship they may have experienced after their spouse’s accident. However, since these things are harder to assign a monetary value to, it’s up to the court to decide how much these non-economic damages are worth.
How to Calculate Loss of Consortium Damages
So, back to the main question at hand: what is loss of consortium worth in a personal injury or wrongful death claim? This answer depends on many factors.
Loss of consortium settlements vary in value depending on the severity of the spouse’s injury, the state of the couple’s marital relationship before the accident, and the amount of loss the victim’s spouse has suffered or will suffer in the future.
If you want to have your loss of consortium calculated accurately, you may want to contact an experienced personal injury law firm. If your husband or wife was the victim of negligence, Bailey, Johnson & Peck can help you recover damages for your losses as their spouse. Call or contact us online so we can discuss your case.
Does New York Have a Cap on Non-Economic Damages?
No, New York does not have a cap on the amount a victim or their family could receive in a loss of consortium claim. Many states limit the amount a personal injury case victim can be awarded for non-economic damages like emotional distress and loss of consortium. In New York, however, there is no limit, meaning loss of consortium settlement awards aren’t limited. The court can decide to award the victim with as little or as much compensation as they see fit for the loss of things like sexual relations, moral support, affection, and companionship.
How Can an Albany Personal Injury Lawyer Help in a Loss of Consortium Claim?
Loss of consortium claims are often made within a personal injury case or a wrongful death case, meaning if you are already filing one of those claims, you or your spouse will not have to file a separate claim for lost consortium. While you can file a claim on your own, loss of consortium is often difficult to prove, and in order to receive fair compensation, you’ll need extensive legal knowledge and an understanding of the New York legal system.
An experienced legal professional can help you or your spouse receive financial compensation for lost consortium in a personal injury lawsuit or, in the event of your spouse’s untimely death, a wrongful death claim. They can also ensure that the party responsible for your loved one’s injuries is held liable.
Depending on how your spouse was injured, you may want to find a law firm with experience trying similar personal injury cases, like ones involving medical malpractice or car accidents. If the accident occurred a while ago, you may also want to contact a lawyer to have your personal injury case filed on time.
Call Albany Personal Injury Lawyers at Bailey, Johnson & Peck Today
If your spouse was the direct victim of negligence and suffered serious injury, contact the personal injury lawyers at Bailey, Johnson & Peck. We can help you file a claim for loss of consortium so you receive the compensation you deserve. With a long history of successful case results, you can rest easy knowing your case is in capable hands.
In addition to loss of consortium cases, we handle medical malpractice cases, wrongful death cases, and more. Call our law office today at (518) 456-0082 and receive a free consultation regarding your case.