The loss of a loved one can leave a huge void in the life of a surviving spouse, child, or parent. When the death is due to someone else's negligence or malicious act, certain family members may be entitled to seek damages through a wrongful death claim for loss of consortium. Loss of consortium claims enable family members to obtain compensation for emotional injuries and other intangible losses. To learn more about your legal rights regarding wrongful death and loss of consortium, contact the White Plains, NY law firm of Worby Vecchio Edelman, LLP.
What Is Loss of Consortium?
Loss of consortium is the legal term referring to a spouse or family member filing a claim for damages in the event a loved one has been the victim of a wrongful death or injury. A spouse or family member may be entitled to damages for losses suffered as a result of another person's negligence.
What Losses Are Considered?
Things that can no longer be provided by a spouse or family member due to a wrongful death may be considered as losses in determining the extent of damages. Losses may be emotional, such as a loss of love, affection, companionship, or pain and suffering.
Who Can File a Loss of Consortium Claim?
Not all family members are eligible to file a loss of consortium claim; the exact rules for who can file a lawsuit vary in each state. In some states, only spouses can file a loss of consortium lawsuit, while other states allow unmarried, long-term partners and same-sex couples to seek damages. Some states allow children or parents to file a loss of consortium claim. There are some limitations on loss of consortium claims, which also vary by state.
In most states, a spouse filing a loss of consortium lawsuit must show that a valid marriage exists. It's also important to note that during a loss of consortium lawsuit, the marriage will be scrutinized with questions from the defense attorney.
The damages in a loss of consortium case are considered general damages and not financial in nature. General damages are not tangible, so any money paid for general damages is a rough estimate of the severity of suffering. Determining damages in a loss of consortium lawsuit is generally left to the judge or jury's discretion. Some types of general damages brought forth in a loss of consortium claim may include:
- Mental anguish
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional pain or distress
- Loss of companionship
- Humiliation and embarrassment
- Loss of reputation
Learn More about Loss of Consortium and Your Legal Rights
If you have lost a loved one due to someone else's negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for emotional or physical pain and suffering. To learn more about loss of consortium and your legal rights, we encourage you to contact our wrongful death attorneys.