The “loss of consortium” is a claim that accompanies a personal injury lawsuit regarding the damage to a marital relationship following an accident, medical malpractice or other injury caused by someone’s negligence. This claim is filed in regards to the damage caused to intimate parts of the relationship and how that damage impacts the victim’s daily life.
Missouri law states that the loss of consortium involves a loss of services, companionship, society, assistance in the household, care, love, sexual intercourse and affection toward their partner. The injuries to one spouse can affect the other. These injuries can dramatically reduce their contribution to the relationship – including intimacy. A plaintiff (the husband or wife of the injured) can file a claim for loss of consortium, but they will be required to discuss how the injury has impacted their relationship and may be required to discuss their intimate relationship to prove it has been affected by the injury.
The damage associated with the loss of services from one’s spouse can be traumatic to the entire family and especially the couple. However, a marriage partner can only bring the claim of loss of consortium. These claims should be considered whenever a married person suffers from a serious injury. It is good to explore the potential of these claims along with any other elements of damage. Because every relationship is different, the damage done to that relationship can vary. Therefore, an attorney will need to evaluate how dramatic the impact is on the marital relationship before deciding to move forward with the claim.
Insurance may dramatically limit how much compensation for loss of consortium can be paid. These claims are often included within the “single injury” limits of an insurance policy; therefore, an attorney will need to assess the policy itself for these limits. However, if there is a negotiable settlement amount and the injured spouse is under the policy limits, the loss of consortium claim by their spouse may be what is needed to reach the full policy limit.
A couple will need to decide if the loss of consortium claim is worth it to them personally. They must be prepared for a level of intrusiveness into their marriage and a higher level of scrutiny. The quality of the relationship will be assessed and if the couple has a history of marital problems before the accident, it may be difficult to prove a true loss of consortium. The couple must also discuss openly and freely how the injury has impacted their relationship – from emotional connections to sexual intercourse, etc. If a couple cannot talk openly about these intimate details, it may be difficult to prove their claim.
If you think your marriage has suffered greatly after an injury or accident, contact the Law Offices of Kevin J. Roach, LLC. for a free consultation. We can assess your injuries and the impact of those injuries on the marital unit. Contact us online or call to get started.