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Loss of Consortium Claims After a Car Accident in Queens, NY

Loss of Consortium Claims After a Car Accident

When a New Yorker suffers car accident injuries that prevent them from participating in intimate or close family relationships, their spouse may be eligible for loss of consortium compensation.

Money for loss of consortium is possible when an accident victim’s injuries render them unable to engage in intimate relations with their spouse and/or unable to provide the same level of love, companionship, comfort, support, services, society, and affection as they did before their injury.

When handling car accident claims, the Queens personal injury lawyers from The Tadchiev Law Firm, P.C., explore the potential to recover loss of consortium damages for our client’s spouse. The intangible effects of a car crash can profoundly impact relationships. If someone else’s negligence seriously harmed you and your family, our car accident attorneys can ease those burdens with a successful personal injury claim. Contact us today for a free consultation.

What Is Loss of Consortium in New York?

Loss of consortium is often believed to refer to an accident victim’s loss of the ability to engage in sex with their spouse. Several types of injury, including paralysis, traumatic brain injury, severe burns, or PTSD, can cause loss of sexual function.

But in Millington v. Southeastern Elevator Co., the Court of Appeals of the State of New York said, “The concept of consortium includes not only loss of support or services; it also embraces such elements as love, companionship, affection, society, sexual relations, solace and more… The loss of companionship, emotional support, love, felicity, and sexual relations are real injuries.”

In some jurisdictions, an accident victim’s children, parents, and siblings who can establish a close relationship may seek loss of consortium compensation. But for the most part, the claim is restricted to legally married spouses.

New York does not allow loss of consortium damages in wrongful death claims.

Factors Considered in Loss of Consortium Claims

Like other noneconomic or pain and suffering damages, there’s no concrete way to calculate the amount of compensation that should be paid for a loss of consortium claim. Your car accident lawyer would make the case to the court based on:

  • The severity and projected duration of the injury
  • The spouses’ relative ages and health before the accident
  • The marital relationship before the accident, preferably a stable, loving, and mutually supportive relationship with shared interests and companionship
  • The injury’s impact on the relationship, including causing a loss of sexual relations, companionship, comfort, support, services, etc.

Winning Damages for Loss of Consortium

A jury or insurers must be persuaded of your loss of consortium and the depth of what it has cost you. Our car accident attorneys will use medical records and statements and/or testimony from doctors to explain the extent of your injuries and the prognosis for recovery. Statements submitted as evidence or testimony would address specific losses caused by the injury, such as loss of sexual function or psychological issues that undercut the ability to be the stable, loving companion they once were. For example, a traumatic brain injury can change the victim’s personality, effectively taking them away from their spouse.

Your testimony regarding your loss would be a powerful presentation to a jury. In preparation, we suggest you keep a journal to record how your spouse’s injuries have changed your daily life, activities you no longer participate in, special family occasions you have missed, and responsibilities you have taken over due to your spouse’s incapacity. Family, friends, and close colleagues may also be able to provide statements about the change they have seen in you and the life you and your spouse had.

At The Tadchiev Law Firm, P.C., we would paint a picture of the happy marriage that existed before the accident, including activities you and your spouse enjoyed together that are no longer possible. We would also speak about how things have changed due to “loss of services,” which refers to the injured spouse’s share of household chores, like cooking, shopping, doing laundry, and driving the kids to school or sports practices.

A person who has suddenly lost the active domestic and social life they shared with their spouse because of another party’s negligence and is now alone to take on everything necessary to keep their household running deserves compensation.

Determining Damages for Loss of Consortium

In the end, how much you deserve for loss of consortium after a spouse’s serious injury is a judgment call.

One method an insurance company or a jury uses when determining noneconomic damages can be applied to a loss of consortium claim. It requires multiplying all of the claimant’s economic damages (e.g., medical expenses, lost wages, property damage) by a factor that typically ranges from 1.5 to 5 to arrive at a figure. The more severe your loss and its lasting repercussions, the higher the multiplier insurers or a jury will use.

Our job as your car accident attorneys is to make sure the insurance company or a jury understands your losses. Fortunately, we are skilled negotiators and trial lawyers who know how to build and present a persuasive case.

If we can successfully negotiate a settlement, the compensation you receive will be the amount the at-fault party’s insurance company offered to pay and you accepted. A negotiated settlement is possible up until the jury returns its verdict.

When a car accident lawsuit goes to trial, the jury renders a verdict that states what damages it awards the plaintiff, if any. There is no cap on an award for non-economic damages like loss of consortium.

Contact Our Experienced Queens Car Accident Attorneys

The Queens car accident lawyers at The Tadchiev Law Firm, P.C., can review your spouse’s injuries and discuss your legal options, including seeking damages for loss of consortium. Let us help you obtain justice if someone else’s negligence has upended your happy marriage. Call or contact us today for a free consultation.