Loss of Consortium

After an accident in Nashville, TN, your injury may have a significant impact on your quality of life. An injury can interfere with your ability to work and enjoy the hobbies and activities that you once enjoyed. It can also interfere with your relationships. Your injury may limit your ability to interact with loved ones or may otherwise negatively impact your relationships.

If your injury has impacted your relationships with loved ones, they can bring a claim for loss of consortium as part of your broader injury claim. Labrum Law Firm Personal Injury Lawyers has years of experience bringing personal injury claims under Tennessee law and aims to educate current and prospective clients in Nashville on their legal rights and options. 

This resource will explain what loss of consortium means and how you can obtain compensation for this loss.

Types of Damages

Injury victims are generally entitled to two main types of damages after an accident: economic damages and non-economic damages. Economic damages compensate for the measurable losses caused by an accident, such as medical expenses, property damage, and lost wages. 

Non-economic damages compensate for intangible losses from an accident, such as pain and suffering. Loss of consortium is one type of non-economic damages.

What Is Loss of Consortium?

Loss of consortium refers to the deprivation of the benefits of a family relationship due to an injury caused by someone else’s negligence or intentional actions. It typically involves the loss of companionship, affection, moral support, and sometimes even sexual relations that the injured person’s spouse or family members have experienced as a result of the injury.

In order to successfully bring a loss of consortium claim, all of the following elements must be met:

  • At the time of the injury, there must have been valid and lawful marriage between the spouse and the injured spouse;
  • One spouse suffered a tortious injury (due to someone else’s negligence or intentional actions);
  • The non-injured spouse suffered a loss of consortium, or companionship; and
  • The defendant’s acts were the closest cause of the injury.

The plaintiff has the burden of proving that all of the following elements are met. If there is insufficient proof for any of the elements, the claim may be dismissed.

Can Other Parties Make Loss of Consortium Claims?

Tennessee limits loss of consortium claims to legally married spouses. In other states, family members, such as children or parents, may also have grounds to make such claims if they can demonstrate a loss of companionship due to the injury. 

Statute of Limitations

Like other personal injury claims, loss of consortium claims are subject to statutes of limitations. A statute of limitations is a state law that sets the time limit within which a lawsuit must be filed. 

Tennessee’s statute of limitations for most personal injury cases, including loss of consortium claims, is generally one year from the date of the injury. There are exceptions, but only in certain circumstances.

It is crucial to consult with an attorney promptly to confirm the appropriate time limit for your case. Further, your attorney needs ample time to gather evidence, make a compelling case for non-economic damages, and file by the deadline. Failure to file your lawsuit by the deadline means that you lose your right to sue.

What Is the Value of My Loss of Consortium Claim?

In Tennessee, the calculation of damages for loss of consortium depends upon several factors. As loss of consortium is difficult to measure, courts will look at the “reasonable value” of each of these aspects of consortium to calculate their loss. 

According to Tennessee’s jury instructions, Some of the factors involved in this calculation include:

  • Costs of medical care
  • Costs of services and supplies for the injured spouse
  • Expenses associated with attending to the spouse in the hospital
  • Value of the injured spouse’s services lost
  • Value of the spouse’s companionship and acts of love and affection

These factors are measured based on their present value, even if they are long-term harms. 

Tennessee places a cap on claims for non-economic damages, including loss of consortium damages. Under Tennessee law, plaintiffs cannot claim more than $750,000 in non-economic damages. For catastrophic injuries, this cap is increased to $1,000,000.

Examples of Loss of Consortium 

Loss of consortium can show up in a variety of ways in a relationship. Here are just a few examples of what a loss of consortium can look like:

  • Inability to participate in shared activities and hobbies
  • Loss of emotional support
  • Loss of intimacy in the marital relationship
  • Loss of services and support in household management and child-rearing
  • Significant emotional distress
  • Strain on the family 
  • Disruption to the living arrangement of the spouses
  • Expensive medical treatment and caring for the injured spouse

Loss of consortium may look different in your case; you should consult an experienced attorney in order to determine how to frame your claim for loss of consortium.

Contact a Nashville Personal Injury Lawyer for Help

If you or a loved one has suffered injuries resulting in loss of consortium, you should consult an experienced Nashville personal injury lawyer. A personal injury lawyer can evaluate your case, explain your legal rights, and help you pursue fair compensation for your losses, including loss of consortium.

For personalized legal advice and assistance with your loss of consortium claim, contact Labrum Law Firm Personal Injury Lawyers at (615) 685-8546 to schedule a free consultation today.