Loss of consortium in tort law elaborates on the loss due to injury or wrongful death of a loved one. It is one of the types of personal injury cases made against a negligent party or someone who has done an intentional wrong. Losing companionship may deprive someone of their relationship with the accident victim. Loss of consortium is the deprivation of family relationship benefits, including:
- Sexual relations,
Loss of consortium recognizes these losses and provides the loved ones with the right to pursue compensation from entities liable for the injuries. The guide will elaborate on the legal options and different types of compensation that you may pursue if damages occur due to one’s injuries.
What Is A Loss Of Consortium Claim?
A loss of consortium claim will evaluate the losses and injuries that the defendant’s actions have caused to the non-injured individual. In extreme cases, the defendant’s actions could cause debilitating or permanent injury and disabilities.
The injuries may negatively impact relationships and marriages. Due to physical or mental restrictions due to an accident there can be an impact on the union of a couple. Loss of consortium can be caused by some of the following:
- Medical malpractice,
- Automobile crashes,
- Defective products,
- Slip-and-fall accidents,
- And more.
There may be intentional acts, such as sexual battery or assault, leading to the loss of consortium due to emotional trauma.
Loss Of Consortium Claim Process
A claimant can initiate a claim process in the following cases:
- The defendant was held liable for the injury or wrongful death of a family member;
- The claimant has an intimate relationship with the family member – a direct relationship (spouse, child);
- The claimant can show that he/she has been deprived of the benefits of the relationship.
In most cases, the individual pursuing compensation will ask for the recovery of economic losses. The claimant may also be eligible for other non-economic damages, such as compensation for pain and suffering.
The jury bases its decision on factors such as the length of the marriage, stability of the relationship, living arrangements, and any history of abuse in the couple’s relationship. In addition, the plaintiff can bring testimonies from their friends, family, and doctors to testify about the nature of their relationship.
Who Can Sue For Loss Of Consortium?
A close family member of the victim can sue and file a claim for loss of consortium which includes:
- Married spouses and domestic partners (spousal consortium);
- Children (parental consortium);
- Parents (filial consortium).
It is because the claim was mainly to seek compensation for the loss of sexual relationship between the couples or negatively impacting the victim’s fertility.
Some examples of loss of consortium occur when a child experiences a severe birth injury due to medical malpractice and becomes disabled. In such cases, parents can file a claim due to the loss of the parent-child relationship.
Alternatively, the injured spouse can pursue a claim in the case of an auto accident when one of the spouses experiences paralysis. The outcome will be a loss of love, companionship, and the marital relationship.
Value Of Loss Of Consortium Settlement Amounts
There is no cap on the reimbursement for the claim of loss of consortium value. The amount of damages awarded will depend on the severity of the injury and other factors related to the relationships. There may be a cap, however, on the non-economic damages the plaintiff is allowed to recover.
Suppose the defendant has an insurance policy of up to $200,000 for reimbursement of a spouse’s injuries. In that case, they will pursue a maximum of $50,000 for a loss of consortium claim in Pennsylvania if the spouse wishes to settle for nearly $150,000.
Limitations For Loss Of Consortium In Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania law has a few restrictions on filing a claim for loss of consortium. The statute of limitations limits the time period to file the claim within two years from the date of injury, and in some cases within two years of the discovery of the injury.
The case also requires a large amount of evidence to prove the case and is limited to those who have sustained a direct injury. In addition, the court may not allow punitive damages in a claim of loss of consortium if the defendant’s conduct did not involve recklessness or malice.
Need legal assistance? Consult With An Injury Attorney
Our law firm will work with you to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve for the loss of consortium. We have extensive experience in dealing with cases and will take all the necessary steps to ensure that your rights are fully protected. Call an experienced Philadelphia personal injury lawyer today to discuss your case, or fill out our contact form.