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Spouse injured? Make a claim for loss of consortium

After your spouse got injured in an auto accident, your life changed as well. Sometimes it almost seems as if you were riding shotgun with your spouse that day. Because just as if you were beside them in the car, life as you knew it changed immediately.

Not only did your spouse help you "bring home the bacon," they helped around the house and with child-rearing duties. They were a full and equal partner with you in all ways, including intimacy. But since the accident that injured them, nothing is the same as before.

You may be able to file your own claim

As the hospital and therapy bills mounted, it became apparent that your spouse must file a claim for damages to recoup these losses. But it's entirely possible that you have the right to file a claim for loss of consortium as well.

While most loss of consortium claims involve spouses, in some circumstances they may also be filed by parents and children of the injured claimant. For the purposes of this post, we will address spousal loss of consortium claims.

Sometimes, these claims may be referred to as loss of companionship claims because the spouses are deprived of some or all benefits they previously enjoyed before their spouse was injured in the accident.

What do claims include?

A loss of consortium claim takes into consideration the injured spouse's role as a breadwinner, helpmate, co-parent and intimate partner, as each had value to the family or the marriage as a whole. When those roles can no longer be carried out, the uninjured spouse suffers, too.

How are damages calculated?

As a noneconomic damage, loss of consortium is included in the general damages. These losses are intangible and challenging to quantify with monetary values. As such, no standard rule exists to calculate these damages. Courts may consider the following in their calculations:

  • What were the couple's living arrangements?
  • Was the marriage loving and stable?
  • The extent and nature of care and companionship received by the spouse
  • Both spouses' life expectancies

Ohio sets claim limits

Here in Ohio, there are damages caps on loss of consortium claims. Noneconomic damages filed in the state top out at $350,000 or the amount of economic damages tripled, whichever sum is more.

Should you file a loss of consortium claim?

Courts typically award these claims in cases of more serious accidents where the injured claimant suffered life-altering or disabling injuries. They are also common in wrongful death actions where the claimant was widowed by the accident.

You will need to list, and in some cases document, your losses in order to receive compensation for them. A Cleveland personal injury attorney can advise you of your rights under the law when filing a claim for loss of consortium.

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