What is Loss of Consortium?

If you are looking into what compensation might be available after you or your spouse has been injured in an accident, you may come across “loss of consortium.” It compensates the uninjured partner for the physical and emotional changes to the marriage because of the accident. Compensation is typically based on the loss of “services.”  Broadly defined— it includes many activities in the marriage that benefit the other spouse. Speak with a personal injury lawyer to determine whether a loss of consortium claim is warranted in your situation.

Loss of consortium in a no-fault state

Loss of consortium is a non-economic loss—which means it’s not represented by a bill or other clearly-defined cost. Further, in a no-fault state like New York, it is not available in every case.

Ordinarily, under New York’s personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, the plaintiff cannot recover compensation for non-economic losses. However, If the injuries exceed a particular threshold and allow the injured party to sue– then you may bring this claim– which would include non-economic losses.

It should be pointed out that only married couples can qualify to raise this claim. If a couple is cohabitating without being married– then the domestic partner does not have the standing.

What losses are included in “loss of consortium”?

Loss of consortium includes the marital services that a spouse provided before the injury. Some examples include:

  • Household duties like cooking, cleaning, laundry, driving children to activities, performing home maintenance and repairs
  • Financial support that the injured spouse provided
  • Personal or emotional relationship including care, companionship, attention, guidance, and sexual intimacy.

For some of these services, you may need to hire outside help until the injury resolves. For example, if your spouse usually picked the kids up from school and made dinner before you got home from work—the cost of these services and lost financial support may be considered for reimbursement.

The personal and emotional losses may be harder to assess, but they are important and eligible for compensation. Your attorney can determine how to best convey them to maximize your financial recovery.

Factors affecting the value of a loss of consortium claim

There is no definite dollar amount that shows what you or your spouse has lost. Other factors help put a value on a consortium claim, including:

  • How long you have been married
  • Your age and life expectancy
  • The dispositions, happiness, and social involvement of the family members
  • What would have been the injured spouse’s earning capacity had it not been for the accident

An experienced attorney can help you assemble the evidence you need to prove the impact that your spouse’s injury has had on your marital life.

Should you file a loss of consortium claim?

A loss of consortium claim may be warranted, but not always worth certain trade-offs. Filing it opens the door to personal and potentially invasive questions about your home life and even your sexual relations.

Discuss the pros and cons of raising a consortium claim with a New York City personal injury lawyer. The attorneys at Douglas & London have represented injured clients for over two decades. Call our office today to schedule a free review of your case.