A loss of consortium is a form of non-economic compensatory damages that you can file for in a wrongful death lawsuit. These damages can help cover the losses you experience due to losing your loved one’s companionship.

The unexpected loss of a life partner is one of the hardest life experiences to go through, and the tragic ordeal will continue to have significant consequences for the duration of your life. Not only will you always live with the emotional grief of what could’ve been, but you could also be forced to cope with the financial repercussions, too.

Luckily, you can economically recover from some of those costs by filing a wrongful death lawsuit. A loss of consortium is only one of the types of damages you can file for, and we’ll go over exactly what these damages consist of below.

Essential Elements of a Loss of Consortium Claim

A loss of consortium describes the loss of companionship, comfort, affection, and conjugal benefits of your partnership. Since these benefits were lost as a result of the other person’s wrongful behavior, it makes sense that they should financially cover the costs of your distress. Several elements must be proven for your claim to be successful, including:

  1. A valid, lawful marriage existed between the spouse and the deceased.
  2. The deceased was killed as a result of a wrongful action by the other party.
  3. The spouse suffered or is suffering from a loss of consortium.
  4. The losses were the direct result of the actions of the other party.

In California, only a spouse or partner can file for a loss of consortium. Other states, however, do sometimes allow unmarried partners to file for these damages. To get a better idea of your eligibility, it might be best to consult with an attorney. A lawyer will consider your personal circumstances to give you more reliable legal counsel.

Calculating Compensation Claim for Loss of Consortium

A loss of consortium is a type of non-economic damage. That means it is more difficult to value since there won’t be any physical receipts or bills that document the actual financial value of your loss. Calculating the value of non-economic damages is complex, and it’s often best to consult with an attorney while you’re attempting to do so. An attorney will be able to walk you through the process.

In general, though, your non-economic damages will be assigned a multiplier value based on the severity and extent of your loss. This multiplier will fall somewhere between 1.5 and 5. Next, you’ll add up all of your economic losses. This sum should be multiplied by the multiplier figure to come up with an estimated value of your non-economic losses.

The Emotional and Financial Impacts on Families

When you file for a loss of consortium, you’re eligible to receive damages for the loss of love, care, assistance, protection, and moral support. You’re also eligible to receive compensation for the loss of enjoyment of sexual relations or the inability to have children due to the loss of your partner.

The emotional impact of losing your partner can cause you to experience an overall reduced quality of life. The loss won’t only impact you either. It will likely cause problems for your entire family.

Thankfully, there are other forms of compensatory damages you can file for to help cover additional emotional and financial distress you and your family go through. Some of these damages may come in the form of a loss of financial support, pain and suffering, burial costs, funeral expenses, property damage, and more.

Legal Challenges in Proving Loss of Consortium

Non-economic damages are always hard to prove, and as you can imagine, finding evidence that backs up your claims of a loss of companionship is extremely challenging. It may be easy and simple to prove that your marriage relationship existed legally, but it will be challenging to show the closeness you shared as a couple. Unfortunately, proving how close you and your spouse were might also compound your grief.

Evidence of a loss of consortium can be found in the proof that you were in a stable, loving relationship. You can show that the two of you lived together, you can talk about the plans and goals you had together as a couple, and you can highlight past events that showed the sacrifice of both partners. You could show evidence that backs up plans about future travel, creating a family, or boosting each other’s careers. Another important factor to consider is the potential lifespan of the deceased had they not been involved in the accident. If the person was younger, then the loss of consortium damages would likely be higher.

Seeking Legal Assistance for Loss of Consortium Claims

Considering the complexities of consortium claims as well as the extreme emotional stress you’re likely feeling, it often makes the most sense to seek legal assistance when pursuing this type of compensation. A wrongful death lawyer will be able to help with all the complicated aspects of legal action including building up evidence, valuing your losses, and proving your claims.

Here at Kermani LLP, our team has over 13 years of experience litigating wrongful death claims and pursuing economic justice for families of lost loved ones. Contact us now to get help with your ongoing case.

Glossary References


Ray Kermani
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