When one’s spouse is injured and is involved in a lawsuit, damages for loss of companionship and loss of services for the other spouse are known as loss of consortium claims. Damages for loss of consortium run from the date the spouse was injured and continue until the injury no longer interferes with society, companionship, affection and all other matters arising from marriage, or the termination of the marriage.
The standard jury charge for loss of consortium in cases that involve non-permanent injury to the spouse is:
Consortium; Definition; Determination of Value; Generally
A married person has a right to recover for the loss of consortium, sometimes called loss of services, of the spouse. You should be careful to remember that services the law refers to in this are not only household labor, but also society, companionship, affection, and all matters of value arising from marriage. There does not have to be any direct evidence of their value, but the measure of damages is their reasonable value, as determined by the enlightened conscience of impartial jurors, taking into consideration the nature of the services and all the circumstances of the case.
The standard pattern jury charge in Georgia for loss of consortium stemming from a permanent injury to the spouse is:
Consortium; Permanent Loss, Present Cash Value of; Joint Life Expectancy Is Measure of Damages
Where permanent loss of consortium occurs, you would determine the damages on the basis of the joint life expectancy of the husband and wife, that is, by how long they both would have lived together if the injury of the spouse had not occurred. That joint lifetime loss would be reduced to its present cash value.
Loss of consortium damages can add significant value to the damages in a lawsuit. While they are derivative of the personal injury case, they are sometimes very compelling and substantial. Obviously, the more serious the injury to the spouse, the more substantial the claims for loss of consortium are likely to be. In other words, the loss of consortium flows from the injury of the spouse. Therefore, if the spouse has suffered a severe and permanent injury, the loss of consortium claims is likely to be substantial. If a spouse has to care for the injured spouse (changing colostomy bags, turning a paralyzed spouse to avoid bad sores, feeding and bathing a spouse who has suffered brain damage and can no longer care for themselves, etc.), the damages are included in the loss of consortium claim.
Attorney Robert J. Fleming has been handling wrongful death cases, automobile accident cases, personal injury cases, dental malpractice and medical malpractice lawsuits for individuals and families who have been harmed, injured or died as a result of the carelessness or negligence of another for more than 20 years in and around Atlanta, Georgia and its surrounding areas, including Alpharetta, Austell, Avondale Estates, Chamblee, College Park, Conyers, Duluth, Decatur, Doraville, Hapeville, Johns Creek, Jonesboro, Lawrenceville, Norcross, Peachtree City, Riverdale, Roswell, Sandy Springs, Stone Mountain, and Smyrna. If you have been seriously injured and would like quality legal representation, contact Robert J. Fleming directly on (404) 525-5150 or contact us online.