What Is A Loss Of Consortium Claim?

Personal Injury Attorney Ben Schwartz defines a loss of consortium claim for a viewer. If you are legally married and your spouse is injured or killed, you’re not suing for your injuries or the death of your partner, you’re suing for the impact that your those injuries or death had on the marriage relationship. Keep reading or watch the video below…

What Is A Loss Of Consortium Claim?

Hi, I’m Attorney Ben Schwartz,

Today we are going to answer a question from Kathy in Georgetown, Delaware. Kathy wrote-in and she said, “what is a loss of consortium claim? Can you define it?”

Here is how I would define a loss of consortium claim. What I would say is, if you are legally married and you are in an automobile accident, or you have a slip-and-fall and you’re injured, or you are killed, your spouse has a right to make a legal claim or file a lawsuit. Your spouse is not suing for your injuries, your spouse is suing for the impact that your injuries or your death had on the marriage relationship. We see loss of consortium claims quite frequently in our personal injury cases. I will give you the typical loss of consortium claim that we deal with in a typical case.

Perhaps we have a man who is injured in a car accident, a drunk driver ran through a red light and smashed into him. Unfortunately, in the accident the man injured his left shoulder, tore his rotator cuff and had surgery to repair the damage. This is a very painful surgery in a lot of cases and his arm is in a sling. He is left-handed, so every week he would typically sit down and pay the bills by sitting down at the kitchen table and writing the checks. Now he cannot do it, so his wife has to now sit with him and do all the checks for him and do his correspondence to pay the bills. That is a task that she has to do now because of his injuries, but she never had to do that before. That was always his role; that was always his task. He goes out to mow his grass and he lives in a house on ⅛ of an acre. He gets the mower out of the garage, he thinks, well I’ve got my left arm in a sling, but I will just push the mower with my right hand. He mows the grass with his right hand.  It is great except he is bagging up the clippings and now the bag is full and he needs to empty the clippings. You cannot do that one-handed, so he has to go in and get his wife. His wife has to come out and she is the one who is now going to be emptying the bag on the lawn mower. She says, it does not really make a lot of sense for you to be out here mowing the grass one-handed. It is taking you 5 times as long, just go in the house and relax, I will finish mowing the grass. Now she is doing the yard work that she never had to do before, because he was injured because that drunk driver ran the light and smashed into him. These are some typical ways that an auto accident with injuries to one spouse will impact the relationship with the other spouse.

Here is a third example, that gentleman who was injured in the accident that had the shoulder injury and had the shoulder surgery. Typically he has a pretty sunny disposition. Typically he is pretty happy and gets along with everyone, but now he is in pain all the time. He has been in pain and he has gone through physical therapy. Everyday he comes home from physical therapy, the shoulder is throbbing worse. He goes to the doctor, the doctor does the surgery. It is a painful surgery, he comes home recovering, he is in a lot of pain. He snaps at everyone, he is angry all the time because he is in so much pain. During this time period, while he is recovering from the injury and getting better, he has got a short temper. Everyone around him has to deal with that and has to be more understanding and has to tiptoe around him. Everyone is walking on eggshells because the guy is in pain and he has got a short temper. His wife especially is impacted by that; she has to live with him.

So that is something that is an effect on the marriage relationship. She should be compensated for having to deal with that. She should be compensated for the impact that this accident has had on her, the spouse, even though she was not in the car and she did not get injured. That is a loss of consortium claim. That is our typical loss of consortium claim. We see it all the time in personal injury cases, auto accident cases, slip-and-fall cases, dog bite cases, etc. I hope that answers the question. I hope now you know everything you will ever need to know. Hopefully you never need to know anything, but hopefully now you know everything you need to know about loss of consortium claims. I’m Attorney Ben Schwartz, if you have a question for me that relates to the law, the practice of personal injury law in particular, send me an email below. Thanks for watching!

What Is A Loss Of Consortium Claim?

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