As part of many wrongful death lawsuits, surviving loved ones can claim a loss of companionship or consortium. These terms refer to a personal injury claim that seeks damages for surviving family members, the spouse or children of the deceased.
In most cases the term loss of consortium refers to the affection, sexual relations and services received by one spouse from the other. Occasionally, a loss of consortium can also be applied to a personal injury claim by children of the deceased but is a term usually reserved for the loss of relations between spouses.
Personal injury lawsuits claiming a loss of consortium are usually brought on by the uninjured spouse. They may run in tandem with another wrongful death or personal injury claim but are generally limited to the uninjured spouses' loss of love, companionship or sexual relations. In order for a spouse to claim loss of consortium, there are several considerations that factor into a valuation of the loss. When an uninjured spouse files a loss of consortium claim, the court will consider how stable the marriage was prior to the loss, the couple's life expectancy and the level of loss that has been experienced as a result of the injury.
Loss of consortium is considered a noneconomic damage. Unlike lost wages and medical expenses which can be calculated, a spouse's suffering due to loss of consortium is difficult to calculate. Compensation for these personal injury lawsuits are handled on an individual basis. Uninjured spouses that have suffered a loss of consortium as a result of their loved one's injury or death may benefit by working with an experienced personal injury attorney. With their help, spouses can have a better understanding of how a court may view their individual situation.