Understanding “loss of consortium” in a car crash claim

On Behalf of | Oct 12, 2023 | Personal Injury, Wrongful Death |

When a person sustains injuries or dies after a car accident, their surviving loved ones equally suffer. It disrupts the family as they experience the extent of the victim’s pain or endure the grief that comes with death.

Aside from measurable economic damages for the victim’s medical bills or funeral expenses, Delaware law also allows spouses, children, siblings or parents to seek loss of consortium or companionship for their nonmonetary losses.

Knowing what it takes to prove and recover intangible damages from having an injured or deceased family member can help affected families find the peace of mind they long for.

What can courts consider in awarding loss of consortium?

The court recognizes that family circumstances differ. The judge often weighs relevant factors that characterize the loss of the consortium’s value. They investigate how the accident affected:

  • The couple’s level of intimacy or sexual relations
  • The victim’s level of support or involvement in childrearing and other domestic duties
  • The victim’s participation both in earning for the family’s needs and in recreational activities

These elements can manifest in several ways. For example, a paralyzed parent may feel depressed for their limited mobility. In effect, the other parent may feel that their partner’s expression of love and affection is not as warm as before the accident. They most likely haven’t had any sexual interaction for months and dealing with their child’s needs is taking a toll on their mental and emotional well-being.

Why does fighting for loss of consortium matter?

While no amount of money can make up for a victim’s hardship or lost life, loved ones can fight to make the liable party pay for their negligent actions. However, quantifying pain can be challenging. Thus, having a legal advocate ready to handle the family’s sensitive needs proves valuable. They can gather evidence that can demonstrate a more precise and compelling picture of the lost consortium. Even if they cannot undo past pain, they can help surviving families forge a better future.