This article will help you understand how loss of consortium damages work in Texas personal injury cases.
In our series on damages available in injury lawsuits, below we examine what "loss of consortium" damages actually are, and how we prove them in court. We've often found that clients---and even other attorneys---aren't especially familiar with how loss of consortium claims work, but they make up an important part of many Texas personal injury and wrongful death claims.
What is Loss of Consortium?
Marriage and parenthood isn't just about money or help with the chores. In any loving relationship, individuals provide each other love and support on an ongoing basis. For marriage, loss of consortium concerns the intangible elements of the union such as comfort, solace, affection, society, companionship, assistance, and sexual relations. For parents losing children, it means the loss of "companionship and society." For children whose parents have died or have been severely and permanently injured, for the emotional support and guidance they lose.
As in all damages claims, the only available remedy is the court's forcing the defendant to pay you money. It may seem odd---or even unseemly---to seek money "in exchange" for loss of affection.
But the bottom line is that money is the closest thing we can get to true justice in the civil court system. We know you'd rather have your loved one back more than all the money in the world, but you're entitled to something, and all we have is money.
How Do Injury Attorneys Prove Loss of Consortium?
The best person to explain what you've lost in these cases is you. Unlike, say, physical impairment, there is no need for expert medical testimony. Rather, we simply give you the chance to tell your story about your loved one. You get to talk about your relationship, what you shared with them, and what's no longer there.
Courts are essentially looking for genuineness of relationships to determine the extent of loss. When lawsuits are filed, sometimes profoundly estranged spouses, children, or parents show up out of the woodwork seeking money. Smart defense lawyers will always try to find these people out. Our job is to give you the preparation for your testimony that will allow you to truthfully tell your story---warts and all---that will nonetheless present your case in the best light.
It's important to note that this is a derivative claim. By this we mean that the law requires you to "piggyback" your case onto your loved one's for purposes of proportionate responsibility. In other words, if your loved one is adjudicated to have been 10% at fault for the accident, then your claim will likewise be reduced by 10%. In Texas, if your loved one is adjudicated to have been 51% or more responsible, then your claim is kicked out entirely. As such, we must not only show how you have suffered, but that your loved one was not at fault for the incident.
Talk to an Experienced Texas Attorney About Your Loss of Consortium Claim
When people are injured or taken from us because of the negligent acts of another, the law empowers us to hold the perpetrators accountable for your losses. We've been helping people in your exact situation for the last 30 years. Call us at (855) 326-0000 to learn how we can help you.
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