The person who suffers physical harm in a personal injury case is not the only one who suffers. Someone has to pick up the slack around the house when it comes to chores. Someone else’s day-to-day life is upended when he or she has to shuttle to doctor’s appointments constantly. So, is there a way for loved ones of personal injury victims to recover damages, too? Yes, there is, and it’s referred to as “loss of consortium.”
“Consortium” is a Latin word that translates to “having a partner.” This can manifest in so many ways — through loss of intimacy, physical affection, and friendship, to name three. Loss of consortium, however, encompasses much more than physical intimacy. Not having someone around to do yard work, prepare meals, or perform those menial tasks can quickly add up to stress for the healthy spouse. That’s another important note: only spouses are eligible for loss of consortium damages in Georgia. Unmarried partners may not access this legal avenue. Additionally, spouses must request loss of consortium damages within four years of the other spouse’s injury.
Loss of Consortium Damages are Difficult to Calculate
As with other non-economic damages, loss of consortium damages are quite difficult to quantify. It’s relatively easy to come up with figures for lost wages and medical bills, but a relationship? It seems impossible. You might think that the bond you had with your spouse was priceless — and it certainly was — but the jury will need something more specific. If there’s a way to illustrate the nature of your marriage before your spouse’s injury or wrongful death, you need to present it in court.
When determining how much you should receive for loss of consortium, the jury will look at how stable your marriage was prior to the accident. To what degree did your spouse’s injury alter your relationship? How much did your spouse help out with household chores? Were they not able to do the things they loved doing together before the accident, e.g., traveling, going to movies, going out to dinner and visiting friends and family.
An Attorney is Your Best Resource
There are many types of damages available to a personal injury victim and the family. Loss of consortium damages are unique in that the spouse of the victim is the intended recipient. Fair warning: these types of damages are not easy to obtain. The best way to protect and pursue loss of consortium damages is to hire an experienced and thorough attorney to advise you on the best course of action for your case. Attorney Robin Frazer Clark has brought countless personal injury cases to jury trials and won. Justice and results for clients are the north stars for our legal team. We offer free consultations to prospective clients. To learn more about your options, drop us a line today.