Brian White | November 10, 2020 | Personal Injury
When you sustain a severe injury because of an accident, you may sustain a variety of damages. Damages include the physical injuries caused by the accident. They also include financial losses, as well as pain and suffering.
If your injuries were caused by another party’s wrongdoing or negligent acts, that party could be financially responsible for your damages. Recovering compensation for damages after an accident can be challenging. You must prove that you sustained the damages and the value of those damages.
Financial damages are generally easier to prove than non-economic damages. Receipts, bills, invoices, and other documentation can prove your economic losses.
Working with a personal injury lawyer can be one of the best ways to protect your legal right to fair compensation after an injury. An attorney knows the laws related to personal injury claims. He also understands how to document and value damages, including claims for loss of consortium.
What is Loss of Consortium?
When a person sustains a catastrophic injury or is killed because of the negligence of another party, the lives of their family members are also negatively impacted. Family members can suffer financial and emotional damages because of a wrongful death or personal injury to their loved one.
Loss of consortium refers to the loss of ongoing love, support, companionship, guidance, and intimacy that a family member sustains when a loved one is injured in an accident. In other words, the injury or death deprived a family member of the benefits of a relationship.
A loss of consortium claim can include damages such as:
- Loss of services, including household chores, running errands, household repairs, and childcare
- Loss of marital relations includes the negative impact of the injury on the marriage, including intimacy, affection, emotional support, and companionship
- Loss of a parent relationship can include the guidance, affection, love, protection, and care provided by a parent to a child
Other damages sustained by family members could be included in a loss of consortium claim, depending on the relationship with the victim and the extent of the damage to the relationship.
Loss of consortium claims are available in most personal injury cases, including car accidents, slip and fall injuries, injuries caused by defective products, and many other incidents involving negligence or wrongdoing.
How Can You Prove a Loss of Consortium Claim?
Unlike financial losses, the loss of the benefits of a relationship with a family member is more challenging to prove. You must prove that your relationship was substantially altered or lost to recover damages.
You can testify about how the injury changed your relationship with your loved one. Other family members and friends may also provide testimony. Medical experts testify about the extent of the limitations caused by the injuries.
For example, a spinal cord injury might prevent a parent from caring for a child. It may also prevent the parent from attending school functions or extra-curricular activities to offer support. A spouse might not be able to engage in marital relations because of the injury.
A brain injury could alter a person’s cognitive functions making it impossible to give comfort, advice, and support to a child or spouse. A traumatic brain injury could alter a person’s cognitive functions preventing them from engaging with family members at the same level as before the accident.
The value of your loss of consortium claim is also dependent on your loved one’s personal injury claim. If your family member is partially to blame for the accident that caused the injury, the value of the injury claim is reduced by the percentage of fault. Your claim for loss of consortium is also reduced by the same percentage.
Who Can File a Loss of Consortium Claim in Texas?
Texas law recognizes loss of consortium claims related to spouses and parents. Therefore, a spouse or child may file a loss of consortium claim. However, loss of consortium claims are generally not recognized for step-children, or step-parents, or siblings. And, courts have refused to award damages for loss of consortium for a parent’s loss of relationship with a child who suffers a nonfatal injury.
Loss of consortium claims are complicated. It is best to seek the advice of an attorney if your loved one was severely injured or killed in an accident. The Texas statutes of limitation restrict your time to file a claim, so time is not on your side in these cases.
A financial award cannot replace the loss you sustained. However, it can help your family with expenses and costs as you struggle to deal with a loved one’s injury, such as help with household chores and childcare. The lawsuit also holds the party responsible for your loved one’s injury accountable for their actions.