If someone is seriously injured or killed as a result of someone else’s negligence, the victim’s spouse, parent, or child may be eligible for compensation due to the loss of the consortium. Sometimes referred to as “loss of camaraderie” or “loss of affection”, the loss of the consortium may become available to someone whose spouse, parent, or child has suffered unlawful harm. If the victim of unlawful harm is unable to provide the same kind of companionship, affection, protection, co-parenting, support, or intimacy that they were able to provide before, it has a dramatic impact on the relationship as well as the life of the surviving loved one. This traumatic change and loss can entitle the victim’s family member to compensation for loss of the consortium.
While the legal definition of consortium loss originally referred to the loss of sexual intimacy with a spouse who was killed or permanently disabled as a result of unlawful injury, there are several other types of consortium loss that may apply to the marriage or other family members Relationships. These losses include:
- Loss of supportwhich may relate to both financial support and the moral or emotional support that close family members give one another;
- Loss of servicesincluding cooking, cleaning and other household chores;
- Loss of societywhich relates to camaraderie between spouses or other close family members; and
- Loss of qualityThis refers to the quality of the close bond between the spouses. This can include love and affection, companionship, sexual intimacy, and other sentimental aspects of the marital relationship.
The loss of the consortium is a derivative claim, meaning it is related to personal injury filed in unlawful injury or death. If this lawsuit ends with the granting of personal injury to the victim or his family, the victim’s close family member may also bring a consortium claim to seek compensation for his own incidental losses as a result of the accident. Damage awarded for loss of the consortium is proportionate to the awarded personal injury. Therefore, if the victim was held responsible for any part of the negligence that resulted in his own injury or death, both personal injury and loss of the awarded consortium damage will be reduced accordingly.
As with other types of emotional loss and related harm such as pain and suffering or emotional distress, the consortium loss cannot be calculated using a simple formula or dollar amount because there are no bills or receipts attached. Instead, it is a kind of non-economic damage, a kind of loss measured by more subjective, intangible means.
For example, the spouse of an oil rig worker who was killed in an oil rig accident as a result of employer’s negligence can claim forfeiture of the consortium’s entitlement. Your attorney could support this claim based on how close the couple were prior to the accident and how dependent the surviving spouse was on the deceased spouse for emotional support and shared parenting responsibilities. Because these are emotional, intangible, and subjective issues that cannot be easily quantified or converted into dollars, they must be carefully studied so that appropriate harm can be identified.
In another example scenario, the spouse of a person who was permanently disabled in an accident caused by the other driver can claim a loss of consortium entitlement. In this case, although the victim did not die, his life was permanently changed by the accident, as was the life of his spouse. Your marital relationship has also suffered permanent changes and damage. If the couple has children, the victim can no longer help with childcare, cooking, cleaning and other household chores to the same extent as before. All of these factors help to support the loss of consortium eligibility.
Spouses, parents and children of major accident victims can claim forfeiture of consortium claims as they are considered closely enough related to the victim to qualify for such a significant loss of this nature. This includes adoptive children and adoptive parents as long as the adoption was complete and legal. However, siblings, step-parents, and step-children have no right to claim loss of consortium claims as these family relationships are not considered close enough to deserve compensation for the loss of the consortium. Parents of children who have not suffered fatal injuries are also not entitled to compensation due to the loss of the consortium.
Loss of Consortium: Texas Law
In many respects, Texas law is the same as the rest of the nation in the event of any claims for loss of the Consortium. However, there are certain differences based on Texas state law when planning to file a claim in Texas. For example, while siblings of accident victims could claim loss of consortium claims in certain states, siblings in Texas are not entitled to loss of the consortium, stepparents or stepchildren.
While parents in Texas can file a Consortium Loss Filing for the unjustified death of their child, they cannot file a Consortium loss if their child is still alive, even if the child sustained a catastrophic injury that resulted in permanent brain damage, paralysis, etc. . has led. or coma. There is also a $ 250,000 limit on noneconomic damage in Texas, which includes damage for loss of the consortium as well as compensation for emotional stress.
False injuries and fatalities are not always black and white when it comes to negligence and liability for damage. Sometimes it is found that the plaintiff filing a personal injury lawsuit is at fault for part of the accident. In this case, the damage awarded to them will be reduced accordingly. In Texas, if an accident victim is found to be more than 50% responsible for their own unlawful injury or death, their family members cannot file for loss of the consortium.
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A plaintiff in Texas can claim damages for the consortium loss in the past and for the consortium loss expected in the future. For example, in the case of a construction worker killed in a construction zone accident resulting from the negligence of his employer, the spouse of the victim of the unjustified death could request a consortium loss due to the protection, camaraderie and financial support they were denied when they were denied assistance Spouse died. Your claim could also cover compensation for loss of financial support, protection, and camaraderie that your spouse would have provided in the future if he had been able to do so.
Another Texas law to be aware of is the standard statute of limitations for personal injury and death. In most cases, this means that claims must be filed in the state of Texas no later than two years from the date of the accident or event that resulted in unlawful injury or death and loss of the consortium. Claims submitted after this two-year period are often dismissed by the court without notice.
Laws about personal injury and loss of consortium rights can change over time, and the existing laws about these claims are complex. Filing deadlines and other legal issues are part of the reason it’s so important to hire a reputable and experienced personal injury attorney to handle your claim.
Proof of loss of consortium entitlement
Proving evidence of a consortium loss claim is a complicated undertaking as this type of claim seeks to seek non-commercial damages. It is difficult for lawyers and juries to assign financial value to emotional losses such as loss of companionship, affection, protection, or sexual intimacy. Even the loss of financial support that may be included in a loss of consortium entitlement can be difficult to calculate, as it is not just about wages already lost in the accident, but also about future profitability that is at the time of the accident was cut off.
The loss of consortium claims is also treated differently in court than other types of personal injury claims, as no experts are required. Rather, the “most knowledgeable” witness to this type of claim is the person making the claim – the spouse, parent, or child of the victim of unlawful injury who caused the profound loss of the relationship and all of its benefits to the accident Enjoyed, experienced it changed the life of the whole family so drastically.
Because of this, the plaintiff must speak on his own behalf about what and how much he lost in the accident of his loved one to prove the loss of the consortium. The burden rests on them to provide compelling evidence of the loving, stable relationship they have shared with their family member, as well as the care and companionship that has been lost due to wrongful injury or death. The plaintiff could describe the depth of connection and affection they once shared with their loved one, the ways their loved one can no longer help with childcare or household chores, or offer advice and support like him did it sooner if they survived the accident.
Close friends or other family members who know the plaintiff and the victim well could also testify on behalf of the plaintiff, as they can describe their own perspective of the relationship between the victim and the plaintiff before the devastating accident that changed everything. However, the plaintiff’s own testimony and that of close friends or family members are highly subjective, and opposing attorneys will certainly seek to discredit the plaintiff and any personal witnesses whenever possible.
The loss of the consortium must be carefully calculated by the jury negotiating the case and is always calculated in proportion to the damage granted for the original personal injury lawsuit. Because there are so many intricate permutations of state and local laws and laws change frequently as new cases set new precedents, loss of consortium claims can best be handled by a knowledgeable and empathetic attorney who can ensure a fair resolution to his clients’ relocation can move forward from a tragedy.
Slack Davis Sanger can help you move forward after an accident
If you’re looking for a personal injury or unlawful death attorney who is empathic and compassionate, turn to Slack Davis Sanger. Our attorneys care for listeners who can passionately fight for justice on your behalf. Our team has extensive experience and track record of personal injury and death, and can ensure fair compensation to move you forward after a tragic accident.