What is a “loss of consortium” claim?

Was your spouse recently injured?   You might have your own claim as well.

In California, the spouse to an injured person can bring forward a “loss of consortium” claim.  (Rodriguez v. Bethlehem Steel Corp. (1974) 12 Cal.ed 382, 408.)  This type of claim gives potential for an accident victim’s spouse or registered domestic partner to argue that he or she has been deprived of companionship, emotional support, comfort, care, assistance, sexual relations, and/or the ability to have children as a result of the accident victim’s injuries.
To prove a claim for loss of consortium, one needs to establish the following:  (1) a valid and lawful marriage between the plaintiff and the person injured at the time of the injury, (2) a tortious injury to the plaintiff;s spouse, (3) loss of consortium suffered by the plaintiff; and (4) the loss was proximately caused by the defendant’s act.  (Vanhooser v. Superior Court (2012) 206 Cal.App.4th 921, 927.)
A plaintiff bringing a loss of consortium case in California is allowed to pursue “non-economic” damages for their pain and suffering resulting from the accident victims injuries.  These damages include: the loss of financial support from the injured person, compensation for the services that the claimant has provided or will provide in the future to the injured person, any lost earnings that the claimant has suffered by giving up their employment to care for the injured person, and the cost of domestic services in the home to replace the services of that the injured person gave.
Per California law, a personal injury attorney may add a loss of consortium claim to a personal injury case for an accident victim.  However, there are significant privacy concerns with any claim of loss of consortium.  For example, if your marriage suffered through any hardships – such as a separation – those circumstances will likely be discussed.  Your attorney should be able to explain the benefits and risks of bringing such a claim.
If you or your spouse have been injured in California, do not hesitate to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you get the compensation that you deserve.  Contact Chichyan Law APC today at 818-488-9448 to schedule a courtesy consultation.  
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