In personal injury cases, the focus is mostly on the person who was injured – but not entirely. The spouse of a victim of a car accident, medical malpractice, a fall, or any other accident also suffers because the accident victim is unable to completely fill their marital role. If a spouse dies, the surviving spouse can typically file a loss of consortium clam through the wrongful death and survival case.
What is loss of consortium?
Loss of consortium is generally decided on a case-by-case basis. However, it usually includes the following:
- Loss of society and companionship of the spouse. Loss of society and companionship includes things like not being able to go to the movies together or to parties or social functions together. For example, the spouse can’t engage in conversations about family and personal interests because their pain is unbearable.
- Impaired sexual relations. A broken arm or leg, a torn muscle, cuts and bruises, and almost any injury can make it hard to be intimate the way a couple was before the injuries occurred.
- Loss of love and affection. Part of the joy and comfort of a marriage is the emotional affection each spouse provides for the other. People in pain may usually feel love and affection but they often can’t express it.
- Loss of performance of material services. An injured spouse can’t drive the kids to their activities; can’t mow the lawn, clean the dishes, go to the grocery store, or do a variety of necessary chores around the home.
- Loss of financial support. When a spouse can’t earn a living, the other spouse may need to work longer hours to make ends meet. The other spouse may need to sacrifice certain joys and necessities because there’s only one income.
What are the factors in placing a value on loss of consortium?
Insurance adjusters and courts will place a monetary value on the loss of society, companionship, and the other losses above based on a variety of factors, including:
- The testimony of each spouse
- Household financial records
- A determination of the marital relationship status before and after the marriage
- The life expectancy of the spouses
Injuries such as traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and other injuries that cause loss of bodily function often last a lifetime. A great amount of time must be spent just getting the accident victim to their doctors, therapists, and counselors.
The quality of the relationship is often completely different in catastrophic injury cases than it was before the accident occurred. The differences are often just as much physical as emotional. In most catastrophic injury cases, the injury victim can never earn a living again.
Mississippi does have a limit on loss of consortium claims in medical malpractice cases. Loss of consortium is considered a non-economic loss (unlike medical bills and income loss). Noneconomic losses are capped at one million dollars by § 11-1-60.
At Merkel & Cocke, P.A., we understand how an injury takes a huge toll on both spouses. Our Mississippi loss of consortium lawyers represent both spouses when an accident occurs. We work to document and explain these traumas for both the accident victim and their spouse.
For help with any accident claim, call us at 662-799-1633 or fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment. We have offices in Jackson, Clarksdale, and Oxford. We represent families throughout Tupelo and the Gulf Coast Region, and across Mississippi.