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Loss of consortium damages: Your injury hurts more than just you

Imagine you suffer a catastrophic injury in an accident that wasn't your fault. You're no longer able to work and earn an income for your family. In fact, you're so injured that you can't even take out the garbage or complete other simple tasks around the house. Your family needs to pick up the slack and it's difficult for them.

Clearly, you're the one who's suffering the worst — due to the pain, discomfort and psychological effects of your injuries — but your family is suffering as well. These kinds of damages that your family suffers as an indirect result of your injuries are called "loss of consortium damages." In some cases, your family members can pursue these damages as an addendum to your personal injury claims.

What kind of damages can I pursue?

Loss of consortium claims seek to recover a variety of damages, mostly related to the losses that your spouse has endured -- but they could also relate to losses suffered by your kids. Here is a brief sample of damages you can include in a loss of consortium claim:

Lost household services: You may have performed a variety of tasks around the house like cooking, cleaning and laundry tasks. If you're too injured to do them, your spouse has lost these benefits, which have quantifiable value.

Lost childcare services: If you were the primary caretaker of your kids, you probably miss your daily routine with the children. Meanwhile, your spouse may have needed to hire a nanny to pick up the slack, and also assume the responsibility of driving the kids to school. None of these services are easy to afford and your spouse might be able to pursue damages related to these costs.

Loss of companionship and affection: The other effects of your injuries on your spouse relate to the loss of companionship and affection. These damages are not so easily quantifiable but the court may be willing to compensate your spouse for the losses.

Learn more about loss of consortium claims

A loss of consortium claim will differ from case to case. The loss of consortium claimant -- who is usually your spouse -- will include his or her name as an additional plaintiff on your personal injury case and seek to recover damages in this way.

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