When someone is seriously injured in a car wreck or another kind of accident, their whole family suffers – especially when the victim sustains permanent damage or dies.
In Texas, “loss of consortium” claims offer a way for family members to seek compensation for certain hard-to-define losses they suffer due to the injury or death of their loved one. Learning more about how this works can help you better understand the legal action you can take if you’re in this situation.
What is a loss of consortium?
“Loss of consortium” refers to the loss of a loved one’s companionship, affection, emotional support, guidance and even intimacy experienced by a spouse or family member due to that loved one’s injuries or death.
These are non-economic damages, which means – unlike direct economic losses like lost wages and medical bills – they aren’t easy to quantify in monetary terms. Instead, they represent the inevitable emotional toll that someone’s injury or loss puts on personal relationships and family dynamics. While a loss of consortium claim is closely linked to the actual victim’s personal injury or wrongful death claim, it’s actually a separate personal injury claim brought by the affected party.
Who can file a loss of consortium claim?
Typically, someone claiming loss of consortium must have a close familial relationship with the injured or deceased person. This is usually only spouses, parents and children (although Texas law does have a quirk in that it doesn’t permit parents to file loss of consortium claims over an injured child, but only when that child dies.) Loss of consortium claims often rely on establishing the closeness of the relationship between the plaintiffs and their injured or deceased family member, as well as making the court understand how that relationship has been irrevocably altered because of what happened to them.
Although there are challenges associated with pursuing loss of consortium claims, they are essential acknowledgments of the profound impact that someone’s negligent, reckless or willful wrongdoing can have not only on their immediate victim but also their family. If you find yourself in such a situation, you have every right to learn more about your legal options.