Loss of consortium claims arise from losses experienced in the marital relationship. For example, if your spouse is injured by someone else’s negligence in such a way that it harms your relationship with them, you may be entitled to compensation for loss of consortium.
If you believe you may have a loss of consortium claim, reach out to an experienced Georgia personal injury attorney for the professional legal guidance you need. Consortium claims are generally for: burns, dismemberment, paralysis, surgery, etc.
Examples of Loss of Consortium Claims
Loss of consortium in Georgia is a broad category of loss that speaks to the harm that one spouse’s injuries cause the other spouse to experience in relation to their overall marital bond.
As such, loss of consortium is not something you can point to and calculate but, instead, refers to intangible losses that are generally defined in terms like the following (as applicable):
- Loss of the injured spouse’s love
- Loss of the injured spouse’s companionship and society
- Loss of the comfort derived from the marital relationship
- Loss of the injured spouse’s help around the house – in the form of tasks such as cooking, cleaning, running errands, doing yard work, and driving the kids where they need to be
- The emotional pain experienced in response to the injured spouse’s shift in personality, which may take the form of depression, increased anxiety, or increased irritability
- The stress of caring for an injured spouse
- Difficulty communicating with your injured spouse
While losses in relation to physical intimacy can be part of your loss of consortium claim, it is not a requirement.
Who Is Entitled to Bring a Loss of Consortium Claim?
When it comes to the matter of who is entitled to bring a loss of consortium claim, things tend to become confusing. It can help to break things down by considering the following key points:
- Only the spouse of the person who is injured by someone else’s negligence can file a loss of consortium claim.
- The injured person themselves cannot.
- The injured person, however, can seek compensation for similar losses in their personal injury claim under pain and suffering, which can address matters such as loss of enjoyment in life.
While some states allow children of injured parents to file loss of consortium claims, the State of Georgia is not one of them – focusing instead solely on the marital relationship.
The Derivative Nature of Loss of Consortium Claims
Loss of consortium claims are derivative claims, which means there generally can’t be a loss of consortium claim unless the injured spouse it is predicated on also files a personal injury claim in response to the at-fault party’s negligence.
It’s important to note that if your spouse settles their personal injury claim, it resolves the matter of your loss of consortium claim as well – because there generally is no loss of consortium without the underlying personal injury that it is derived from.
Calculating Your Losses
Whenever legal damages – or losses – are intangible, such as in loss of consortium claims, it becomes more challenging to calculate the claimant’s total losses in terms of fair compensation.
This value is derived by taking a wide range of factors into careful consideration, including:
- The nature of your marital relationship, including how happily married you were prior to your spouse’s injury-causing accident
- How stable your marriage was prior to your spouse’s injury-causing accident
- How and to what extent the injury-causing accident changed your marital relationship
- Your age as compared to your spouse’s and the life expectancy of each of you
- The number of minor children you and your spouse share
- The amount the injured spouse is awarded in their personal injury case
Additional factors that can bolster or diminish your claim include the following:
- Whether you and your spouse have ever experienced significant marital discord
- The level of intimacy you and your spouse shared prior to the accident in question
- Whether domestic abuse has ever played a role in your relationship
- The roles you and your spouse filled in your household prior to the accident in question
- The roles you and your spouse filled in your minor children’s lives prior to the accident in question
While providing evidence of the damages you experience is not strictly necessary, it may help the jury better understand your unique loss. Ultimately, loss of consortium damages are left to the jury, which means what seems right to them as people who understand the value of the primary relationship of marriage.
Loss of consortium damages are typically calculated as a derivative amount of the injured spouse’s overall compensation, which means a specific percentage that is derived from this amount.
Reach Out to an Experienced Georgia Loss of Consortium Attorney Today
The trusted Georgia injury lawyers at the Larrison Law Firm Auto Accident and Personal Injury Attorneys recognize how challenging the damages related to loss of consortium can be and have the compassion and legal insight to help.
Loss of Consortium Claim FAQs
How long do I have to file a loss of consortium claim?
In the State of Georgia, the statute of limitations – or time limit – for bringing a loss of consortium claim is four years from the date of your spouse’s injury-causing accident.
How do I know if I have a viable loss of consortium claim?
If you think you may have a claim, the best course of action is to consult with an injury attorney at your earliest convenience.
How much will retaining a lawyer cost?
Most reputable attorneys in Georgia work on contingency, which means that you won’t need to pay anything until you receive a settlement or court award. Also, anything you pay will come directly out of your compensation, so you will never need to pay for legal help out-of-pocket.