In personal injury law, damages refer to financial compensation available for an injured victim’s losses, such as hospital bills and lost wages. Loss of consortium is a type of claim filed in pursuit of compensation specifically for the impact an accident or injury had on a relationship. Loss of consortium damages are awarded most often in Missouri during claims involving serious, catastrophic or fatal personal injuries.
What Is Loss of Consortium?
An accident can strip a victim of his or her ability to contribute to a parent-child or spousal relationship. Loss of consortium refers to the loss of a loved one’s physical and emotional services because of an injury. With a loss of consortium claim, loved ones deprived of the victim’s services can seek compensation for these losses. While financial compensation will not make up for this loss, it can help a family finally move forward.
Common Types of Claims Involving Loss of Consortium
When an injury is severe enough to prevent a victim from providing the same love, care and services he or she provided to loved ones prior to the accident, loved ones can seek loss of consortium damages in Missouri. Loss of consortium claims are most commonly brought by victims’ spouses, parents and children, and more often during certain types of claims than others.
These claims commonly involve life-changing or fatal personal injuries. Certain states limit a person’s right to recover loss of consortium damages. In Missouri, however, family members of an injured victim can recover this type of compensation from a defendant if they meet the burden of proof. The claimant will have to establish this type of loss as more likely to be true than not true through evidence such as witness testimony, information about the relationship, and opinions from experts such as doctors and psychologists.
Can Injured Victims Claim Loss of Consortium?
Loss of consortium claims are made by relatives of the injured party, not the injured party him or herself. Loss of consortium refers to the loss of an injured party’s love, support, services and companionship. In general, the injured victim cannot seek this type of award him/herself. The person being deprived of these losses is who may file this type of claim. The most common party to file a loss of consortium claim in Missouri is the victim’s spouse. A spouse often stands to have the most to lose from a permanent or significant injury, including the loss of the victim’s love, affection and sexual relations.
It is important to note that seeking loss of consortium compensation does not necessarily require a second personal injury lawsuit against the same defendant brought by a victim’s spouse or family member. Instead, the family member can include a loss of consortium claim with the victim’s injury claim. A personal injury attorney can make a plea for a loved one’s loss of consortium award as part of pain and suffering. If the jury believes the claimant is eligible for loss of consortium damages, the jury will calculate a fair amount based on the specifics of the case.
What Kind of Damages Does Loss of Consortium Cover?
Loss of consortium is a type of general damage award granted alongside damages such as emotional distress, physical pain and mental anguish. Loss of consortium specifically refers to the loss of a victim’s intangible services in a close personal relationship, such as that between a parent and a child or two spouses.
- Comfort and support
- Household services
- Parental guidance
- Love and affection
- Sexual relations
The amount of compensation available for loss of consortium in Missouri typically corresponds with the severity of the injury and damages suffered. If the injury is significant and lifelong, a loss of consortium award will be more substantial than for a minor injury. Some state laws or insurance policies limit the amount of loss of consortium damages available. Discuss the full value of your injury claim, including a potential loss of consortium award, with a personal injury attorney today for more information.