Injuries or death cause significant harm to families of loved ones who are uninjured or left behind. Not only are there emotional impacts like sadness and grief, but loved ones often face the loss of consortium too. As a result, they can make a civil court claim to be compensated for their loss.
What is the loss of consortium?
Consortium covers several closely related areas under New Hampshire law.
The first definition is the “right to society.” In New Hampshire, that means a spouse has the right to receive love and affection from their partner. They also have the right to compassion, comfort, solace, affection, and moral support in a marriage.
Consortium in New Hampshire also means the spouse has the right to have sex with their partner. That includes having children.
Finally, a spouse has a right to services. Services include physically helping to take care of a home. That can also mean every day home chores like cooking and cleaning.
When something like an accident takes these rights away, the noninjured spouse can claim against the party that caused the injuries. The claim will likely be filed at the same time as a personal injury claim.
Qualifications for a loss of consortium claim
As in a personal injury case, certain qualifying factors must be met when making a loss of consortium claim.
The party bringing the claim must be a husband or wife. They must pursue a wrongful death claim. A boyfriend or girlfriend cannot make a claim.
The party bringing the claim can also make it for any time the spouse was unable to provide “society,” “sex” or “services,” including when they had to take care of the injured spouse.
The judicial process for loss of consortium
Courts determine loss of consortium through the following process.
First, the court will determine how stable a marriage is before evaluating the rest of a claim. Second, the age of each partner in the marriage is taken under consideration. Finally, the loss of the marriage benefits due to the accident is analyzed.
Pain and suffering are part of personal injury lawsuits like those commonly filed following car accidents. Loss of consortium is another type of claim that can also be filed in these painful situations. While it can be stressful for a family, loss of consortium does protect the noninjured spouse and lets them be compensated when a loved one is injured.