An individual does not need to be physically injured in an accident in order to pursue a claim. How can someone who has not been in an accident make an injury claim? They may be able to file a claim for loss of consortium.
Loss of consortium is a term used to represent the damages a surviving spouse suffers after their partner has been injured in an accident. Courts use this term when an injured spouse can no longer provide companionship, sexual relations, or affection in the ways they did before the accident. Depending on the jurisdiction where your claim is heard, loss of consortium claims are not just available to spouses. They may be claimed by children or parents as the accident victim may no longer be able to provide parental support or, in the case of a minor-aged victim, parents may lose some of the joys of parenthood.
These claims are generally not common in cases where an accident victim survives, recovers, and is able to resume their daily activities. However, in cases with severe life-changing injuries--like brain trauma, spinal injuries, and paralysis--a loss of consortium claim should be considered.
Loss of consortium claims in North Carolina have requirements. The statute of limitations for consortium loss claims follows the type of injury that resulted in the loss. For example, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims in North Carolina is three years from the date of the injury, while product liability claims are six years from the date the product was purchased. Ask an attorney to evaluate your claim to ensure it is still valid.
How does one determine the value of a consortium loss claim? No simple answer exists, and no formula is used by judges or lawyers. Typically courts and juries will address the victim's social activities, sexual activity, moods, and household services before and after the accident. The deficiencies in how an individual may contribute to their marriage and household help courts decide an award value. Every jury is different, and thus, awards vary. Some claims may be a few thousand dollars, while others are hundreds of thousands of dollars - and in some cases in the seven figures.
Our North Carolina injury attorneys know that the accident victim is not the only one who suffers. Although they have pain to manage and recovery to navigate, their loved ones experience stress and the emotional and financial burden that may result after an injury. We help individuals and families pursue every possible source of compensation, and sometimes a consortium loss claim helps.