What does 'loss of consortium' mean in a wrongful death claim?

Accidents take place in Alameda every day, and they can be life-changing events for families who lose a loved one. When we talk about wrongful death claims, we often emphasize the importance of a settlement or jury award in helping to keep a grieving family on solid financial footing. This is particularly true when the deceased provided financial support, as in the case of someone who earned a salary.

However, we also want Alameda readers to understand that compensation may be available for what is known in the legal system as "loss of consortium." What is loss of consortium? Consortium refers to the companionship, the love and affection that a family member contributed. If the deceased had children, it can also include the care and parenting that the deceased provided to the children.

It can be a challenge to prove loss of consortium, as the damages are noneconomic in nature (as opposed to compensation for medical expenses or for lost earnings, for example). A court will look at the type of relationship the deceased had with the person claiming loss of consortium and how close the deceased and the person claiming loss of consortium were. In the case of spouses, the court may consider how old they were at the time of the accident and how long the marriage would have otherwise lasted.

This information is intended to be general in nature only, not as specific legal advice. When seeking loss of consortium as part of a wrongful death suit, a legal professional can play an important role. He or she will understand how best to demonstrate these types of noneconomic damages in a convincing way to a judge based on the type of relationship.

Source: FindLaw, "How to Prove Loss of Consortium in a Car Accident Claim," accessed on March 23, 2018

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