If your spouse is injured in an accident, then New York law allows you to file a claim for loss of consortium against the at-fault party. This type of action is highly personal and is intended to address the fact that due to the accident, your marital relationship is changed physically, mentally, and or emotionally.
Loss of consortium has its origin in English common law, which allowed a husband to sue for damages suffered by the loss of his wife’s services. In 1848 New York passed the Married Women’s Property Act, which set the stage for claims being made equally available to wives.
Damages for loss of consortium generally fall into one of three categories. All three can be taken into account when calculating a fair amount to pay an injured person’s spouse.
Loss of services
Loss of services assigns a reasonable monetary value to the work that your spouse did around the home, such as:
- Yard work
- Home maintenance
Someone who has been badly injured may no longer be able to perform these chores, leaving you to either pick up the slack yourself or pay someone else to do it. This category is intended to compensate you for the extra burden that arises when your spouse can no longer contribute to household upkeep.
Loss of support
Loss of support refers to the financial support your spouse would have contributed to the household had they not been injured. When calculating how much to award, judges and juries typically consider two factors:
- How much your spouse made
- How they managed their money
In the latter instance, a determination needs to be made on how much of their money your spouse spent on household needs. If they were inclined to save their money or spend most of their paycheck on their own needs and wants, then you would get a lesser award than if they actively contributed to the household expenses.
Loss of marital relationship
Loss of marital relationship addresses all the non-financial aspects of the marriage, such as:
- Sexual intimacy
This part of a loss of consortium award is arguably the most difficult to apply a dollar value to, as they address emotional factors that are an important part of marriage but don’t come with an invoice or receipt.
When evaluating your claim for loss of consortium, the court will consider factors such as:
- Length of the marriage
- Reasonable life expectancies for both spouses
- Current living arrangements
- The injured spouse’s likely earning ability if they had not been injured
A New York personal injury attorney can assist you during such an emotional time by helping you collect the material and non-material evidence needed to prove the losses you suffered as the result of your spouse’s injury. You were hurt too, figuratively speaking, and are equally deserving of compensation. Jayson Lutzky is a Bronx, NY accident and personal injury lawyer with the experience you need to help get you the compensation you deserve. He has helped clients recover millions of dollars in compensation over the past 34+ years. Call 718-329-9500 or visit www.MyNewYorkCityLawyer.com to set up a free initial in-person consultation. Home and hospital visits are available in the case of serious injury.