Can I Claim Loss of Consortium After a Car Accident?
If a spouse is seriously injured in a car accident, the other spouse may bring a claim for loss of consortium against the at-fault party. Loss of consortium refers not only to the loss of marital relations due to the accident, but also to companionship, emotional support, sharing of household chores and childcare, and other factors affecting the marital relationship.
A Pittsburgh personal injury lawyer at Chaffin Luhana can help you receive the maximum compensation you deserve for your injuries. Our dedicated attorneys have recovered more than $1 billion in settlements and verdicts for their clients.
Loss of consortium
In Pennsylvania, a loss of consortium claim is derivative, in the sense that it a claim made not by the injured party per se but by the spouse. The spouse cannot bring a loss of consortium claim unless the injured wife or husband files a personal injury lawsuit.
While unmarried partners may sue for loss of consortium in some states, that is not the case in Pennsylvania, where only those who are legally married may do so.
For example, a couple has two young children, and they share childcare responsibilities equally. Both spouses also work full-time and earn about the same amount of income.
Say the wife suffers a serious injury in a car accident due to another driver texting, crossing the yellow line, and hitting her car head-on. She undergoes multiple surgeries and is in the hospital for more than a month.
During her recuperation, the husband has taken on all of the household and childcare duties. Once the wife returns home, she cannot work for an extended time, is unable to resume housework and childcare, and cannot participate in marital relations.
Her husband is still performing 100 percent of the work and is also caring for his wife. In such a situation, the husband has a loss of consortium claim against the driver responsible for the crash.
Making the case
In a loss of consortium claim, expect a careful examination of the state of the marriage prior to the accident. The court wants to know:
- Overall marital strength
- Level of intimacy before the accident
- Division of household labor
- Spousal life expectancies
The uninjured spouse should expect to testify about the nature of the marital relationship and how the accident changed it. It may prove necessary for other relatives and friends to testify about the spousal relationship prior to the accident, such as participation in social and other events and how that is no longer a possibility due to the severity of the spousal injuries.
It is also possible to present physical evidence of the former strength of the marriage, in the form of video or pictures before the spouse was impaired by the accident.
Statute of limitations
A loss of consortium claim generally requires filing within two years of the accident date. Failure to file within that timeframe could mean that the case will not be able to go forward in court.
If the injured spouse dies from their injuries, the other spouse may pursue loss of consortium in a wrongful death lawsuit filed within two years of the death date.
Contact a Pittsburgh car accident attorney
If your spouse was badly injured in a motor vehicle accident and the injuries have taken a serious toll on your marriage, a Pittsburgh Car Accident Attorney at Chaffin Luhana can evaluate your loss of consortium claim. Arrange a free consultation by calling or texting today or contacting us online.
We realize a loss of consortium claim addresses the most intimate details of married life. Our compassionate attorneys know how to handle this information in a confidential and professional manner.
Because we work on a contingency basis, there is never a fee unless we win.