Frequently Asked Questions - What is a Claim for Loss of Consortium?
Loss of consortium is a claim for damages that a spouse can bring against an at-fault party for the negligence they caused to their loved one.
If a husband was involved in a motor vehicle accident caused by someone else’s negligence and the husband was seriously injured, the wife would have a loss of consortium claim against that at fault driver (the tort feasor).
A loss of consortium claim is when a physically injured person as result of their injures cannot provide their spouse with services, love, affection, society, fellowship, assistance, companionship and sexual relations that were provided by the injured spouse prior to the accident. Other forms of loss of consortium include the injured spouse’s inability to help with the daily household tasks, taking care of the kids and household chores. The spouse may also have emotional stress due to the financial hardship due to injured spouse’s inability to work and inability to help with the household responsibilities. Also, if the spouse is having to take time off work to stay home and take care of the injured spouse this could also be included in the loss of consortium claim.
Most loss of consortium claims are usually small unless the injured spouse dies, or the injuries are severe such as loss of a limb, paralysis or a disabling condition.
A loss of consortium claim takes skill to prove – it is difficult to put a money value on a loss of consortium claim.
If lawsuit is being filed in the injured spouse’s claim against the at fault party, your attorney will include a separate and specific count in the Complaint for the spouse’s loss of consortium. You cannot have a loss of consortium claim without a claim by the injured spouse against that at-fault party.
Once a lawsuit is filed and a loss of consortium claim is included the at fault party’s attorney will first send Loss of Consortium Interrogatories. These questions can be very difficult to answer and dwell deeply into your martial relationship and your personal business and past history. Some couples will decide to drop the loss of consortium claim because they do not want to answer these questions and then have their deposition taken and having to answer basically the same questions in person in front of attorneys and court reporter. If the case went to trial the defense attorney would be asking these types of question in front a Judge and jury.
For example, some of the questions that you will be required to answer to prove your loss of consortium claim:
- With regard to your loss of consortium claim for damages, state with specificity, what injuries, damages or losses you have sustained as a result of this incident.
- Describe in detail your leisure activities during the twelve-month period prior to the incident and compare them with your leisure activities since the accident.
- If you claim that the alleged injuries suffered by your spouse a result of the incident terminated or limited your sexual activities with your spouse, state in the manner these injuries to your spouse terminated or limited such relations by giving a comparison of your sexual activities for the period of time one year prior to the incident and your sexual activities as of the date of incident through present, and state how the injures suffered by your spouse as a result of this incident has contributed to or caused these damages in your sexual activities.
- Describe in detail any martial difficulties you and your spouse have had (including all dates and how addressed and resolved) which you claim are related to the incident and describe in what manner they are related to the incident or were caused by the incident.
- As a result of the incident, have you and your spouse consulted any marriage counselor or any other person performing a similar function and, if so, state the dates of all visits, name and last known address of each such person seen.
- During the past five (5) years, have you or your spouse had assistance from any person in connection with the maintenance of your home or family and, if so, state the name, last known address, age and relationship to you or your spouse of any such persons, a description of the assistance rendered, the dates and hours during which the assistance was rendered, the amount of money paid for such assistance and, whether or not such assistance was related to the incident and, if so, why.
- On average, how many hours per day did you regularly spend with your spouse prior to this incident.
- On average, how many hours do you currently spend with your spouse.
- Have you every separated from your spouse for reasons due to differences or disputes arising out of the martial relationship.
- State the name and last known address of each of your employers for the past seven (7) years and, as to each, your job title, job description, highest rate of pay and reason for leaving.
- Have you ever been convicted of a crime and, if so, as to each, state the date of conviction, place of conviction, nature of conviction, disposition of the matter and case number.
- Did you consume any alcoholic beverages or take any drugs or medications within twenty-four (24) hours prior to the incident described in the Complaint and, if so, specify the precise nature of what was ingested, the amount, date, time and reason.
- State whether you witnessed the incident upon which you spouse’s claim is based and, if so, set forth what you saw, identify who or what entities caused or contributed to the incident, identify all witnesses, describe what took place at the scene immediately following the incident.
As you see these questions can be difficult to answer and some people just do not want to go through the process of a loss of consortium claim. This is something you and your spouse should discuss in great detail with your attorney before deciding to file a loss of consortium claim.