The Right to Compensation After Injury to Your Spouse
In a legal action to recover full and fair compensation after the careless or negligent acts of another person cause injury or illness to your spouse, one of the typical claims is for “loss of consortium.” What does that mean? Who is entitled to compensation in New Jersey for loss of consortium?
“Loss of Consortium” Defined
Loss of consortium is a form of damages to which a party is entitled after an accident. The function of a damage award is to compensate the injured party for all actual losses and put the party in the position they would have been in had the accident not occurred. Damages include out-of-pocket expenses but also can cover intangible losses, such as pain and suffering and the loss of the ability to engage in certain activities.
Loss of consortium is defined in New Jersey as the loss of comfort, society, and marital relations typically provided by a spouse. It involves both the loss of services that the spouse would have provided—housekeeping, cooking, childcare, etc.—as well as the intimacy that is part of a marriage.
Loss of Consortium Claims in New Jersey
In New Jersey, a loss of consortium claim may be filed only by the legally married spouse of an injured person. Persons cohabitating or in domestic partnerships do not have a valid claim for loss of consortium. In addition, it’s generally required that you be legally married at the time of the accident and not a party to a legal separation. A loss of consortium claim may be filed based on any type of accident—a slip-and-fall, motor vehicle accident, injury from a defective product, medical malpractice, etc. As a practical matter, though, juries tend to limit loss of consortium awards to those cases involving death or injuries that are serious and catastrophic.
Contact Attorney Howard N. Sobel
At the office of Howard N. Sobel, we work closely with people who have suffer personal injury in New Jersey. Contact our office online or call us at 856-424-6400 to set up a free initial consultation (on selected cases). We are currently available by phone, text message, or videoconference only. Evening and weekend appointments can be arranged upon request. We accept all major credit cards.
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