Loss of Consortium
Loss of consortium in legal
proceedings most often refers to decreased or limited sexual
activity between spouses as the result of a personal injury.
But, loss of consortium
also refers to diminished care, companionship and / or affection
as well regardless of whether or not sexual activity has
Loss of consortium may
be claimed in either negligence
or intentional tort
Usually loss of consortium will refer to legally married couples,
though there has been a push in recent years to include same sex
couples and couples that are not married but have been in a committed
relationship for a long time. It should be noted that when loss
of consortium is claimed in court, the couple's sex life is fair
game to attorneys for the opposing side, which may give many couples
pause when going forward with a loss of consortium claim.
Loss of consortium can also occur if one spouse is not able to
perform regular duties around the house such as parental guidance
of children or losing out on activities such as camaraderie with
children, siblings or other extended family members.
The spouse of the injured party may also bring forward a lawsuit
for loss of consortium even though they were not directly injured.
Sometimes this will lead to a quicker settlement since the defendant
may be worried about a larger judgment when two trials are threatened.
Other times, the loss of consortium claim is a hard sell to juries
who feel that missing out on certain aspects of life or making
adjustments and compromises are just a standard part of living.
In these cases, the loss of consortium claim must show extreme
circumstances in order to gain a favorable verdict. Life-changing
injuries and permanent disabilities generally garner more empathy
from judges and jurors when loss of consortium is claimed.