Car accidents are traumatic events, creating ripple effects through victims’ lives. While some injuries heal and damages can be repaired, some effects are more permanent and can affect day-to-day life. Victims’ families can also experience pain because of a crash.
Loss of consortium, or a change in a social benefit, is a little-known ailment that’s devastating for loved ones. It’s possible to seek compensation if someone’s reckless or negligent behavior created that loss. Learn more about the concept of losing consortium and how to pursue compensation.
Defining “Loss of Consortium”
While many people are familiar with the physical injuries a car accident can create, there are also emotional damages. Loss of consortium occurs when the benefits of a familial relationship are lost because of injuries or death. This term specifically relates to personal injury cases, when a defendant’s negligence or reckless behavior causes the victim’s family to lose a connection with the victim.
Loss of consortium cases happen when a partner or family lose the joys of companionship, affection, love, comfort, or sexual intimacy.
For instance, if a husband is killed in a car crash, their surviving spouse could suffer from the loss of their companion. A family could lose consortium if they lose some social aspects after a child is permanently disabled.
Only certain people can pursue a loss of consortium claim. Close, intimate family members are eligible for such a claim. Anyone who could lose a shared life experience, comfort, or companionship can file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver.
Are There Damages Available for Losing Consortium?
After a car accident, it’s possible to pursue damages. You might pursue compensation for economic damages or non-economic damages. Loss of consortium is a non-economic damage. While economic damages include out-of-pocket losses like damages or medical costs, non-economic damages are conceptual.
These losses don’t have an exact dollar amount associated with them, but still have an impact on the victim’s quality of life in a personal injury case. In a loss of consortium case, you’re arguing that the loss of consortium has affected your life badly enough that you need relief.
How is My Loss Calculated?
Calculating your non-economic losses can be difficult. These losses are largely subjective: someone can recognize that your life has been affected, but assigning a dollar amount can be difficult.
The court will use several factors to determine a fair amount, according to:
- The living arrangements of the victim and their loved ones
- The length and stability of marriage when the claim is filed
- The role the victim played in the lives’ of their loved ones
- The level of care or companionship between the victim and their loved ones
What Kind of Limits Are There in a Loss of Consortium Claim?
Compensation might be limited in your loss of consortium case. It wasn’t until 1960 that a wife could bring a loss of consortium claim to court. Nowadays, immediate family members, family that acts as the legal guardian(s) of the victim, or a spouse can file a claim.
Comparative negligence laws also apply to loss of consortium cases. That means any damages you are awarded might be affected by the degree your family member was responsible for their injuries.
Each case is unique, and although the value of claims will vary, punitive damages cannot be collected by a spouse.
In the state of Illinois, any claims must be filed within two years of the incident that led to the damages. Otherwise, a court might dismiss the claim.
How Does a Loss of Consortium Affect My Personal Injury Case?
Personal injury claims can cover your monetary and conceptual losses after an accident. If you choose to pursue a loss of consortium claim, it will happen separately from your loved one’s case. Even though they deal with the same accident, you are working to recover the damages you have experienced after the accident, not the direct impact of the accident on your loved one.
Your spouse could pursue a property damage claim after a car crash to get their car repaired, and they can pursue a lost wages claim when they haven’t been able to go to work. You’ll be pursuing a related but separate case, so a positive outcome in their claims could benefit your case.
Should I Contact an Illinois Personal Injury Lawyer?
As you’re helping your loved one adjust and recover from their injuries, you’re being asked to carry on with your own life. If you believe the defendant’s actions harmed your way of living, and you can no longer enjoy your companion’s company, you can pursue a claim. These claims can become challenging and complex, especially when proving something without a clear monetary value has a value for you.
Turning to an experienced personal injury lawyer can give you an edge to successfully making a claim. They can listen to your story, guide you through the process, determine if you have a legitimate claim, then help you calculate your claim’s value. Your attorney will know where to file your claim, and they can represent you in court.
Contact a Chicago Loss of Consortium Lawyer Now
When your loved one is injured or killed because of the actions of another person, you deserve justice. Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. is a personal injury law firm that focuses on clients and their loss of consortium cases.