What Is Loss Of Consortium And Companionship?
December 28, 2020
Anytime someone is injured due to the careless or negligent actions of another individual, business, or entity, the injury victim is typically entitled to various types of compensation. The same is true for families of those who are wrongfully killed by others. For personal injury and wrongful death cases, family members may be entitled to compensation referred to as loss of consortium and a loss of companionship. Here, we want to discuss what this type of compensation is and what factors go into determining whether or not this type of compensation will be awarded.
What is Loss of Consortium?
The term “loss of consortium” is most often referred to in wrongful death lawsuits, though these damages can also be awarded in a personal injury lawsuit as well. Loss of consortium claims are often standalone claims brought by a spouse or family member of a person who has been severely injured or killed as a result of the negligence of another individual.
The idea behind these damages is that the person who sustained a severe injury or was killed will no longer be able to provide their spouse or family members with the same love, affection, or sexual relations that they provided before the incident. Therefore, a loss of consortium claim is meant to compensate the spouse or family members for this loss.
What is Loss of Companionship?
Loss of companionship damages are similar to loss of consortium damages. In general, loss of companionship will focus more on the damage that has been done to the emotional aspects of a relationship between the person injured or killed and their family members. This can include the loss of support, bonds, comfort, and, as the name implies, loss of companionship.
You can think of loss of companionship damages as focusing on the emotional and psychological loss, while loss of consortium damages focuses on the loss of the physical aspect of the relationship.
How is This Compensation Determined?
When considering loss of consortium and loss of companionship damages, a jury will typically look at various factors. These damages are generally classified as “general” or “non-economic” damages, meaning that they are damages where money is only a rough substitute for the actual losses incurred. There is no limit to how much composition being can be awarded for most non-economic damages in a personal injury lawsuit in California. Typically, a personal injury attorney will use a multiplier method in which they will add up all of the calculable damages in a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit and multiply that total by a set number (usually 1.5 to 5) to arrive at the appropriate non-economic compensation amount.
Even though a spouse or family member is not a direct victim of the injury or death in these cases, the negative impacts on their life and their family are very real. Loss of consortium and loss of companionship damages are a way to provide compensation for these losses. While no amount of money will ever undo the injuries and losses that have been sustained, it can help bring some closure to families who have been harmed.