Loss of consortium is a type of damage that is available in many personal injury cases. “Loss of consortium” under Georgia law generally means the loss of one spouse for the other’s society, companionship, affection, and all other value that arises out of the marriage.
Marriage is a partnership, and when one member of that partnership is injured, they might not be able to do the same things that they did before to maintain the partnership. Loss of consortium addresses the loss of services, but it also extends much further than that. When someone loses a spouse, they lose affection, support, and so much more.
Understanding Loss of Consortium
Many people make the mistake of thinking that the loss of consortium claims are all about sex or physical affection. While that can be a part of the claim, it’s often only a small part. The real value is losing everything that your partner used to do before the accident, whether that includes household chores or going out to your weekly date night. Examples of losses that are part of a loss of consortium claim may consist of:
- Decreased ability to communicate between the couple
- Additional burdens caused by medical needs (such as having to help your spouse with changing wrappings, using the bathroom, or moving about)
- Inability to particulate in social activities that you did before the accident
- Having to do household chores or childcare by yourself, instead of with the help of your spouse
- Increased stress because of having to complete tasks on your own or dealing with your spouse’s medical or emotional needs caused by the accident
If your relationship is in any way affected after an accident, it should be included in a loss of consortium claim. This type of non-economic damage should get compensated to its fullest extent.
How Do I Talk to a Jury About Losing Part of My Relationship with a Spouse?
Unfortunately, presenting losses like these to a jury can be difficult. It can be very uncomfortable for a spouse to discuss the problems in your marriage that have been caused by the accident. For example; if you and your spouse had a regular routine of playing tennis together on the weekends before the incident, it may be difficult to explain how that simple activity affected your marriage, and how not doing it anymore is straining your relationship.
The same can be said about other, very intimate parts of your life. You may need to tell people about your marriage counseling or individual therapy that you are engaging in because of the accident. It’s hard to share with a group of strangers what’s important in your marriage or the troubles you are having. But, you should keep in mind that many couples go through serious challenges after an accident, and there’s nothing to be ashamed of. Talking about these difficulties lets a jury know just how huge of an impact this accident had on your or your spouse’s life.
Who Can Claim Loss of Consortium in Georgia?
In some states, loss of consortium claims is also available to children and dependent parents. But, that’s not the case in Georgia. This type of claim only addresses the very unique relationship between spouses. You should also keep in mind that the couple must be married for this claim to be available it doesn’t cover losses for significant others, even if you’re living together.
How Are Loss of Consortium Damages Calculated?
You may wonder just how the law can account for a loss that is so personal and difficult to quantify. The truth is that this type of damage is tough to put a dollar figure on. There really is no way to put a definite amount on this type of loss. Instead, the jury or judge will determine the reasonable value of this type of damage by considering the nature of the relationship between you and your spouse and the differences between that relationship after the accident compared to before the accident.
In cases where a spouse is killed, the jury will consider the life expectancy of both spouses as part of their analysis for loss of consortium damages. The jury will consider the lifetime loss of the spouse, which can be very significant, especially for young couples.
How Much Are Loss of Consortium Damages Worth?
Since loss of consortium is considered to be a non-economic damage, there’s no fixed monetary value attached to it. How much these damages are worth will depend highly on the context of your accident case and how deeply it has affected you. Our lawyers will always pursue the maximum amount of compensation available. We know that money can’t replace or fix everything, but we hope that it can give you the resources and capability necessary to heal and move forward.
One thing for certain is to never accept the value the insurance company gives you. Insurance companies have zero stake in your relationship and will often try to downplay these damages or outright deny them. Their interests lie solely in giving you the bare minimum for your settlement and ignoring most of your non-economic damages. To stop them from doing this, you’ll need solid legal representation to assist you when filing your claim.
Get Help from a Lawyer Today
Many married individuals have a loss of consortium claim after an accident, but they may not realize it. Don’t miss out on getting an integral part of your non-economic damages covered by the insurance company. John Foy & Associates can help you examine your situation to determine whether you have this type of claim and if you should include it as part of your lawsuit. Contact us today online or over the phone to learn more about how we can help you.