Published: March 24, 2017
Personal Injury Damages: A Closer Look At Loss Of Consortium.
What is a Claim for Loss of Consortium?
Loss of Consortium claims were created to provide compensation for the loss of companionship and services of a spouse who was seriously injured or killed due to someone else's negligence. Damages which may be sought may include those material services that the injured spouse performed as well as for the loss of companionship, love, care and affection of that spouse. Many terms have been used to describe the elements of companionship, including service, aid, fellowship, companionship, company, cooperation, and comfort.
Each loss of consortium claim will be different as every marriage is different. In terms of the material services, this would include any household chores or tasks that the injured spouse used to perform. The inability of the injured spouse to perform the duties they once could put additional work and stress of the other spouse. The loss of consortium claim was designed in part to compensate that spouse for the added burden. Loss of consortium also encompasses the companionship, love, care, and affection. This focuses more on the emotional and physical relationship between the couple. In fact, this portion of the claim should not be overlooked. The Indiana Court of Appeals stated in Boland v. Greer that "[a]n action for consortium rests in large part on the impairment or destruction of the sexual life of the couple." 409 N.E.2d 1116, 1120 (Ind. Ct. App. 1980).
Who may bring a loss of consortium claim?
Under current Indiana law, the right to bring a loss of consortium claim belongs only to a spouse who was holding a valid marriage contract with the injured spouse at the time the injury arose. The courts have repeatedly held this in many cases and have stated: "a cause of action for loss of consortium derives its viability from the validity of the claim of the injured spouse against the wrongdoer." Arthur v. Arthur, 156 Ind. App. 405 (Ind. Ct. App. 1973) (emphasis added). Having a valid marriage at the time the injury arose is crucial. Courts in Indiana have denied ex-spouses recovery under loss of consortium where the court found no injury arose during the marriage.
What a spouse may be entitled to collect under a loss of consortium claim will vary depending on the facts surrounding the marriage. The personal injury attorneys at Vanderpool Law Firm have the knowledge and experience to help maximize any compensation you may be entitled to. Call us today for a free initial consultation at (877) 741-4827.