Loss of Consortium
Personal injury cases are complex and sensitive matters and it would be an oversimplification to say that it is merely a claim between an injured party and the party who is at fault. Anyone who has ever experienced a family member getting seriously injured knows that an injury has a way of affecting everyone close to the injured party. Massachusetts law recognizes this and has a separate claim that can be brought by a family member, when another’s injury affects their life in respect to their relationship with that person. This is called a claim for loss of consortium.What is Loss of Consortium and Who is it Available to?
If your family member suffers a serious injury and this affects your life in a personal way, you may be entitled to damages for loss of consortium. Damages for loss of consortium are often available when someone losses companionship, assistance, sexual relations, or help with household chores or parenting. It is available in virtually any scenario where an individual is losing a sense of companionship, support or comfort from the injured party. In other words, any injury that deprives you of the full enjoyment of your relationship with the injured person gives rise to this claim.
Loss of consortium is available to:
- Married couples whose spouse is injured
- A child under the age of eighteen whose parent is injured
- A disabled or dependent child whose parent is injured
- The parents of a minor who is injured
Generally, loss of consortium claims are not available to:
- Married couples who were not married until after the injury
- Unmarried couples
- College-aged children
- Adult children
- Unadopted step-children or step-parents
Importantly, for a claim being asserted for a child regarding an injury to their parent, the child must have been born at the time the cause of action arose (when the accident took place.) Additionally, for a spousal claim, the asserting party and the injured party must have been married at the time the cause of action arose.What About Comparative Negligence?
Although a loss of consortium claim arises from the same incident as a personal injury claim, it is a separate and independent claim. This is especially important in cases where there is comparative negligence, meaning the injured party is partially at fault for their injury. Clearly, the child, parent, or spouse, of an injured party does not share in this fault. The law recognizes that it would be unfair to impute the injured party’s fault to the family member bringing a loss of consortium claim. The injured party’s comparative fault cannot bring down the value of the loss of consortium recovery.How Does Insurance Play Into This Type of Claim?
After an accident claims for damages usually go to the at-fault party’s insurer. The insurance company will evaluate the claim and either accept it or deny it. It may evaluate the extent of the injuries, how the injury affects the family member, and the overall loss caused by the defendant’s negligence.
If your loved one is injured because of the negligence of another party and your relationship or quality of life has suffered as a result, you are entitled to compensation for loss of consortium.
Call us for a free consultation today at 617.492.3000 or toll-free at 800.481.6199. We have an experienced team of loss of consortium attorneys ready to work on your case. The personal injury attorneys at Altman & Altman LLP have two convenient locations – with offices located in Cambridge and Boston. We are empathetic to your unique situation and we have over 50 years of experience fighting on behalf of victims of all types of injuries. We are available 24/7, including weekends and holidays.