How to Calculate Loss of Consortium Damages

disability and other forms of loss of consortium deserve compensation

A spouse who has suffered a significant loss of companionship, comfort, society, or services due to the injury or death of their partner may be entitled to compensation. The settlement, known as a consortium claim, compensates for the loss of companionship, comfort, society, or services due to the injury or death of a partner caused by someone else’s negligence in personal injury and wrongful death claims.

Calculating the loss of consortium damages can be a complicated process, and it is vital to understand the legal requirements for receiving them. A Douglasville personal injury lawyer can help you with the process and get you the compensation you deserve. This article will discuss how to calculate the loss of consortium damages.

What Is Loss of Consortium?

Loss of consortium is a type of personal injury lawsuit that seeks to compensate a spouse for losses due to an injury or death of their partner. In Georgia, loss of consortium is considered a type of non-economic damage claimed in a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit.

The injured or deceased person’s spouse suffers a loss of companionship, love, and affection, while children may suffer a loss of guidance and support. The victim’s injuries must be significant enough to impact the marital relationship for a loss of consortium claim to be valid. The victim’s injuries must be the result of someone else’s negligence for a loss of consortium claim to be valid and potentially successful. Loss of consortium claims allow family members to seek compensation for these losses.

It is important to note that to recover damages for loss of consortium, the injured family member must also have a successful personal injury claim against the negligent party. The claim can accompany other damages, such as medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Economic vs. Non-Economic Damages

Loss of consortium falls under the category of non-economic damages, which compensate for intangible losses that do not have a direct monetary value. Unlike economic damages, such as medical bills and lost wages, non-economic damages are more subjective and can be harder to quantify. This subjectivity means that settlements for loss of consortium can vary significantly based on the specifics of the case and the discretion of the judge or jury. Factors such as emotional distress, loss of companionship, and changes in lifestyle are considered when determining these damages.

Douglasville Personal Injury Lawyer Explains How to Calculate Loss of Consortium

In the state of Georgia, loss of consortium claims is calculated based on the impact that the injury or death of a family member has had on the claimants’ lives. A loss of consortium claim is typically part of a personal injury case filed by the injured spouse. The calculation takes into account the spouse’s injuries and how they have affected the marital relationship. As mentioned, it includes the loss of companionship, love, and affection, as well as the loss of guidance and support for children.

Determining consortium settlement amounts can be challenging as they are subjective and depend on the unique circumstances of each case.

There are no specific monetary limits on damages awarded in loss of consortium claims. However, the award must be reasonable and not excessive. Factors such as the severity of the injury or death, the age of the claimants, etc., determine the amount to award as compensation.

Other contributing factors include the following:

  • Evidence presented by the claimants, such as testimony from family members and experts, to determine the extent of the loss of consortium.
  • The court will consider the type and quality of the relationship between the two spouses or partners. This includes how much companionship, services, and support the injured or deceased partner provided before the injury or death.
  • Physical pain and suffering that the injured partner experienced due to the injury or death and the amount of mental distress their partner suffered due to the injury or death.
  • Length of time (past and future) that the surviving partner was deprived of their spouse or partner’s companionship, services, and support due to the injury or death.

The court will then attempt to calculate the value of the loss of consortium suffered by the surviving partner based on the evidence presented. It is important to note that the court may not be able to assign a specific dollar amount to the loss of consortium.

This is because the calculation is subjective and may vary from person to person. Therefore, it is crucial to work with an experienced Douglasville personal injury lawyer to help ensure that the value of the loss of consortium gets calculated accurately.

loss of affection and intimacy is a form of non-economic damage

Who Can Bring a Claim for Loss of Consortium for an Injured Spouse?

Traditionally, in the United States, a claim for loss of consortium is only available to the injured spouse. It is also the case in Georgia. However, the law has evolved in several states over the last few decades.

Now, a person in a close family relationship with an injury victim may file a claim for loss of consortium. These claims are often called “loss of comfort.”

For example, if a child is severely injured in a car accident, the parents may have a claim for loss of comfort. Likewise, if a parent suffers injuries, a child may have a claim. But this is not the case in Georgia, where only the spouse of the injured person may file a claim for loss of consortium.

How Do I Prove My Losses?

When a personal injury case is filed, proving losses in a case of loss of consortium can be challenging, as it is an intangible loss. However, demonstrating the impact of a spouse’s injuries on the marital relationship, such as the loss of love, companionship, and sexual intimacy, is crucial. There are several ways to demonstrate the extent of the damage suffered and build a strong case. The court will consider the state of the marital relationship before the injury and how it has been affected. We discussed them below.

Testimony From Family Members 

One way to prove your losses is by providing testimony from family members and friends about the nature of your relationship with the injured or deceased person. Also, get their statements on how the spouse’s injuries or death have affected the relationship.

For instance, suppose the injured or deceased party used to go grocery shopping every week or handled school runs. You have to show that they are no longer able to do this. Also, if the injured party was always cheerful but now appears depressed, get testimonies to this effect and how it affected your relationship.

Expert Testimony

Expert testimony from a therapist or counselor who can attest to the emotional impact of the injury or death on your mental and emotional well-being. For instance, traumatic brain injuries can cause lasting mental problems and significantly impact the relationship. They can provide evidence of the emotional distress that you have suffered, such as depression or anxiety, as a result of the loss of your relationship.

Financial Evidence

It is also important to provide any financial or practical evidence that can demonstrate the extent of your losses due to the victim’s injuries. For example, if you have had to pay for additional expenses or services, such as hiring a caregiver or replacing the services provided by the injured or deceased person, this can be used as evidence of your losses.

Journals 

A journal or diary of your feelings, emotions, and experiences since the injury or death, can also be used as evidence.

Statute of Limitations for Loss of Consortium Damages

The Statute of Limitations for loss of consortium damages in Georgia is four years. This means that a claim for loss of consortium must be filed within four years of the date of the injury or death.

Challenges in Proving Loss of Consortium

Proving loss of consortium can be challenging due to its inherently subjective nature. Unlike medical expenses or lost wages, the emotional and relational aspects of consortium losses are not easily measured. Defense attorneys may argue that the relationship issues predate the injury or that the impact is less significant than claimed. Overcoming these challenges requires thorough preparation, credible testimony, and sometimes the use of expert witnesses to validate the emotional and psychological effects of the injury.

Discuss Your Claim for Loss of Consortium With a Douglasville Personal Injury Lawyer Today

It is a traumatizing experience for your spouse to die or be injured in a car accident caused by someone else’s negligence. We understand, and we sympathize with you. Thankfully, Georgia law allows you to seek compensation from the at-fault driver.

At The Weinstein Firm, our experienced personal injury lawyers in Douglasville can help you commence the claims process and get a fair settlement. Book a free initial consultation with us today.

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