What is Loss of Consortium?
In the typical marital relationship, two people so closely entwine their affairs that they become like one person. Therefore, it is fair to assume that a serious injury to one spouse would also have a very real and direct impact on the other spouse, even if he or she suffered no physical injury. For that reason, an uninjured person often has a separate and distinct legal right to claim compensation for the impact a serious injury to a spouse had upon him or her. This is called loss of consortium.
Loss of consortium in New York courts is limited and does not compensate the uninjured spouse for mental anguish caused by the injury. Likewise, it does not compensate the uninjured spouse for the physical burdens of caring for the injured spouse. Instead, it attempts to provide compensation specifically for the loss of contributions a spouse typically makes to a person’s life:
- Household services and care of children
- Contributions to social life
- Affection, sexual intercourse and emotional support
Recovery for loss of consortium is often significantly less than that of the underlying claim for medical costs, lost wages and other expenses. Moreover, it is not a guarantee and must be specifically claimed and litigated. The spouse claiming it must present evidence that he or she suffered the type of loss that is recoverable under this theory. In some cases, there may be little or no such loss and a consortium claim may not be worthwhile. In other cases, especially those involving permanent and serious disability, a consortium claim may be significant in its own right.
Jakubowski, Robertson, Maffei, Goldsmith & Tartaglia’s personal injury lawyers understand the law and the types of relief available and can guide clients in Long Island, Suffolk County and Nassau County through the entire process.