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What is Loss of Consortium?

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

If your partner or spouse has been injured in an accident, the effects of their injury can significantly impact your and your family. You may be entitled to a claim for compensation for these injuries you have also suffered. By consulting with a California personal injury attorney, you may find out you have a claim for loss of consortium due to your spouse’s accident.

What is Loss of Consortium?

Loss of consortium is a claim made by the spouse of an injured person against the person who hurt or killed their spouse. It is described by California Civil Jury Instructions 3920 as the loss of love, companionship, protection, moral support, or intimacy in a marriage due to the injury. There is no requirement the injury was physical or caused death.

What Circumstances Cause a Claim for Loss of Consortium? 

A claim for loss of consortium can arise if your spouse has suffered any physical or emotional injury. The injury must have been caused by another person’s negligence or intentional acts. Unfortunately, the injury must also be permanent.

This claim may result if your spouse has been in a car accident, suffered from medical malpractice, was injured by a defective product, or has been a victim of an intentional assault. If this caused harm to your marriage, you have a potential claim for damages.

So How Do You Prove Loss of Consortium?

There are several things you will need to prove to prevail on a claim for loss of consortium:

  • First, you need to show that you and your spouse were lawfully married at the time of the accident
  • Second, you will need to establish that your spouse suffered an injury as a result of someone else’s negligence or intentional act
  • Third, you will need to show you lost the enjoyment of an emotional, physical, or intimate aspect of your marriage after the injury

You will have to prove that the accident caused a change in your spouse’s behavior or abilities that led to the loss of companionship and that this negatively impacted your marriage.

What Can You Recover in Damages for a Loss of Consortium Claim?

There is no specific amount you can get for a loss of consortium claim. This amount is determined by a judge or jury in your case who looks at all the facts and decides. Because it is subjective, it is what is known as non-economic damages. The more significant the injury, the more your claim is worth. However, there are some things you cannot seek compensation for as part of a loss of consortium claim:

  • Loss of financial support from your injured spouse
  • The value of any services you have provided or will need to provide in the future to your injured spouse
  • Earnings you lost as a result of having to care for your injured spouse
  • The cost of obtaining services in the home to replace the services your spouse may have performed (cleaning, repair, childcare, etc.)

While this may be frustrating, you may still be entitled to significant compensation. If you are considering bringing a claim for loss of consortium, please contact our office today for a free consultation.

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.