Home Blog Personal Injury What Does “Loss of Consortium” Mean in California Law?

What Does “Loss of Consortium” Mean in California Law?

By Eugene Bruno on August 10, 2023

In many personal injury cases, the liable party compensates the injured party for their economic and non-economic losses. In some cases, the injured party’s spouse may be entitled to recover compensation from the liable party for the loss they suffer due to the wrongful injury of their spouse.

Loss of consortium is a claim that the spouse or domestic partner of an injured party can make to secure compensation for the lost love, companionship, and intimacy resulting from the injuries sustained. In wrongful death claims, loss of consortium is one of the many types of damages the plaintiff’s spouse may be entitled to receive from the defendant. In cases where a party survived but was severely injured, loss of consortium is one of the leading causes of action against the responsible party.

Loss of Consortium Defined

Under California Law, loss of consortium refers to a category of compensation that covers the loss of a spouse’s “love, companionship, comfort, care, assistance, protection, affection, society, and moral support; and the loss of enjoyment of sexual relations” or the ability to have children. Damages for loss of consortium are intended to compensate someone for the non-economic harm they must endure due to the death or severe disability of a spouse.

Loss of consortium is often claimed in wrongful death cases where a fatally injured individual’s spouse or domestic partner sues the responsible party for damages. However, loss of consortium may also be appropriate in matters involving a severely injured individual’s spouse or domestic partner.

For example, if someone in a car crash sustained severe injuries to their spinal cord, leaving them paralyzed from the waist down, the injured party’s spouse or domestic partner may be legally entitled to loss of consortium damages for “the loss of enjoyment of sexual relations” and the ability to have children.

Importantly, a loss of consortium claim is only applicable to spouses or domestic partners of the injured party at the exclusion of other family members, such as the injured party’s children.

Factors Considered in Loss of Consortium Claims

Someone claiming loss of consortium must support their case with evidence of various circumstances. Factors considered in a complaint for loss of consortium include:

  • The nature and extent of the spouse’s injury
  • Impact on sexual intimacy
  • Spouse’s ability to express affection or love
  • Impact on spouse’s ability to have children
  • Permanent or temporary nature of the loss
  • Age and life expectancy of the injured spouse

The evidence applicable to a claim related to loss of consortium will include medical records, statements, and testimony of the spouse, as well as expert testimony of a marriage therapist or other healthcare provider.

How Loss of Consortium Applies to Personal Injury Settlements and Judgments

Loss of consortium is an elemental aspect of a wrongful death claim and is a separate claim available to the spouse of a victim who survived their injuries. A loss of consortium claim is independent of the injured party’s claim.

If the injured party received a judgment dismissing liability against another party or entered a settlement where they agreed another party was not liable, this is a barrier to a spouse’s claim for loss of consortium.

Consult an Experienced San Diego Personal Injury Lawyer

Cases concerning the loss of consortium can vary depending on the circumstances surrounding the alleged loss. If you have a personal injury case involving the wrongful death or injury to a spouse or domestic partner, you may be entitled to receive loss of consortium damages.

To learn more about your rights, reach out to Eugene Bruno & Associates. Our San Diego personal injury attorneys have a sophisticated understanding of California law and can guide you through the challenges of a personal injury claim, including cases involving the loss of consortium.

Call us today at 1-888-BRUNO-88 (1-888-278-6688) to schedule a free consultation.

Posted in: Personal Injury