New Hampshire recognizes a type of personal injury claim known as a loss of consortium. Loss of consortium is a cause of action that is available to the spouse of a person injured or killed due to the wrongful acts of another. It is a type of harm that falls under the category of general damages. General damages are non-economic damages, meaning they are losses for which money is only a rough substitute.
The definition of consortium is the “legal right of an individual to enjoy the company, affection, and support or, as well as sexual relations with, his or her spouse.” The truth is, loss of consortium refers to much more than a couple’s sexual relationship, as it is intended to address losses of the personal relationship itself. For this reason, loss of consortium may be claimed for the loss of the following:
- Companionship and social discourse
- Emotional and mental support
- Love and affection
- Basic home services such as household chores, providing for children, running errands
- Love and comfort
For example, if you are seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident and are unable to do normal everyday tasks around the house or you cannot participate in sexual relations for a period of time or permanently due to your injury, your spouse may join your lawsuit on a claim of loss of consortium. The personal injury claim and the loss of consortium claim are typically brought together and at the same time. However, damages for loss of consortium are considered separate from the money awarded to you for your personal injury.