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What is Loss of Consortium?

Personal Injury

Loss of consortium is one type of damages that people claim in a personal injury or a wrongful death claim. The unique feature about loss of consortium is that the lawsuit to recover these damages is not brought by the actual victim of the injury- instead it is brought by family members who have suffered as a result of the accident by loosing their relationship with the victim. While loss of consortium actions are most common as an accompanying damage claim in wrongful death cases, a loss of consortium case may also be appropriate in certain other types of personal injury.

What is Loss of Consortium?

Tort damages in general are designed to ensure that the victim of an accident is made as whole as he can be by the person who caused his injuries. This means that the courts ensure that an accident victim receives money for any actual losses. Those losses often include medical bills, lost wages and property damage. Because the court recognizes that a person suffers more than just monetary losses, damages are also awarded for pain and suffering and emotional distress in most cases.

Loss of consortium damages are an additional type of damage that exist because the court recognizes that the actual victim of an accident is not the only person who suffers a loss. When someone is injured or killed, his family suffers a loss as well. The family should thus be compensated for that loss by the defendant who caused it, and loss of consortium is one way to do this.

States have different rules associated with who can file a damage claim for loss of consortium. In some states, this particular claim is limited to spouses, such as a husband or wife. In such cases, loss of consortium damages are appropriate not only in cases where a victim dies and his spouse is deprived of his company, but also in cases where a spouse is no longer able to have normal sexual relations as a result of the injury or damage that occurred. In states where loss of consortium is limited to a spouse, an additional claim for loss of companionship often exists to allow children to recover damages if they lose their parent. In other states, any immediate family member who suffers the loss of the victim is able to bring a loss of consortium claim to recover monetary damages to compensate him.

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