The loss of companionship, or consortium, is often a part of serious injury claims or wrongful death cases. Aside from the obvious economic losses caused to a family after someone in the household is seriously injured or killed by someone’s negligence, there are often other, even more devastating, emotional losses as well.
Husbands and wives lose their partners in life. Parents lose the adult children that they depend on to help them in their senior years. Young children lose the guidance and support of their mothers and fathers.
How do you prove just what was lost from a personal relationship through an accident?
It generally requires a lot of careful documentation and testimony to establish the depth and breadth of the connection between the injured or deceased and the person claiming lost companionship. The court will often look at the following sorts of things:
1. The type of relationship between the people involved. Is there evidence of a loving and stable marriage? Is there evidence of a parent that was actively involved in a child’s upbringing, hobbies or education? What evidence is there that an adult child was a parents’ caretaker?
2. What did the injured or deceased provide? Who has to provide those things now? Is the surviving spouse without companionship? Was the opportunity to even have a family together destroyed? Are the children in the care of nannies or day care now instead of home with their mother or father? Has the elderly parent had to hire a nurse, cleaners or a driver without the adult child’s help?
3. What were the living arrangements before, and what are they after the accident? Has the elderly parent been forced into nursing care without the adult child’s live-in assistance? Have the children been placed with relatives or put in foster care?
It’s important to remember that the court needs to see a “before” and “after” picture of how the accident affected the lives of those around the victim of a serious accident or wrongful death. The victim certainly suffers in an accident — but so do those that relied on that person for love, comfort and care. They also deserve compensation.
Source: FindLaw, “How to Prove Loss of Consortium in a Car Accident Claim,” accessed March 14, 2018