A loss of consortium claim is made by the spouse of an injured victim. The claim seeks compensation for the deprivation of the benefits of a spousal relationship because a spouse was injured by another person’s negligence or intentional tort. A spouse cannot recover compensation for loss of consortium in Nevada if the injured spouse does not prove the elements of a personal injury claim.
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What Is Loss of Consortium?
Injuries sustained by a person can have negative and permanent consequences for their relationship with their spouse. The non-injured spouse incurs damages even though the at-fault party did not physically injure them.
For example, a person in a car accident sustains a spinal cord injury resulting in partial paralysis. Because of the injury, the person cannot bear children or engage in sexual relations. As a result, the spouse would have a claim for loss of consortium for the damages of not being able to have children or intercourse with their spouse.
The loss of consortium is the damage to the relationship between the spouses. That could include:
- Inability to have sexual relations or bear children
- Loss of love, affection, moral support, solace, and companionship
- Inability to perform household chores or care for children
- Loss of society and ability to engage in activities with the spouse the couple enjoyed before the injury
- Loss of assistance, care, and protection
Loss of consortium claims fall under non-economic damages, which is the same category of damages that pain and suffering fall under for the injured spouse. Non-economic damages do not have a specific monetary value. Instead, their value is measured in terms of the severity of the impact on the person’s life.
A loss of consortium claim does not include compensation for economic damages, such as medical bills or lost wages. Instead, the claim is only for the pain and suffering experienced by the non-injured spouse.
What Must You Prove To Win a Loss of Consortium Claim in Nevada?
Winning a loss of consortium claim requires you to prove four legal elements:
Valid and Lawful Marriage or Domestic Partnership
The parties must have been married at the time of injury. Nevada law permits domestic partners to file loss of consortium claims. Nevada Revised Statute §122A.200 gives domestic partners the same rights, protections, and benefits granted to spouses by law.
Spouse Sustained a Tortious Injury
A tort is conduct that causes a person to be injured or harmed. The tortious injury may be caused by negligence. Examples include injuries sustained because of a car accident, defective product, medical malpractice, dog bites, slip and fall, and other incidents involving negligence.
A tortious injury may also be intentional. Intentional torts include sexual abuse, battery, assault, and murder.
The Plaintiff Sustained a Loss of Consortium
The plaintiff in a loss of consortium claim is the non-injured spouse. You must prove that you suffered a loss of a marital relationship in some meaningful form.
You and your spouse need to be prepared to disclose intimate and personal details about your marriage. Others who have firsthand knowledge of your marital relationship might also need to testify, including doctors, family members, and friends.
Proving you sustained a loss of consortium requires proving something has changed since the accident. For example, you cannot merely claim that your sex life has changed. Instead, you must disclose details to prove how the relationship differs from before the accident.
Our experienced Las Vegas injury lawyers work to protect you and your spouse from unjust cross-examination at trial and irrelevant and harassing discovery. We understand the topics and information may be sensitive, but we also want to prepare you adequately for the questions the opposing side asks.
The Injury Caused the Loss of Consortium
You must connect the injuries your spouse sustained to the changes in your marital relationship. Typically, medical evidence and expert testimony can help link your spouse’s injuries to the losses you experienced in your relationship with your spouse.
The value of your loss of consortium claim depends on the severity of the loss and the type of loss. Generally, catastrophic, permanent injuries that impact numerous aspects of your marital relationship increase the value of a loss of consortium claim.
A Loss of Consortium Claim Is Tied to the Spouses Personal Injury Claim
Your loss of consortium claim is a derivative of your spouse’s personal injury claim. That means a loss of consortium claim depends on the outcome of the personal injury case.
For example, if the injured spouse contributed to the cause of their injury, Nevada’s contributory fault laws could reduce the amount of money they receive for damages. If the injured spouse’s fault is 51% or more, neither the injured person nor their spouse receives any money for their claim.
If an injured spouse signs a settlement agreement, the settlement applies to the loss of consortium claim. Likewise, if an injured spouse loses their personal injury lawsuit, the non-injured spouse loses the loss of consortium claim.
Talk with our Las Vegas injury lawyers about all options and legal remedies before agreeing to a personal injury or accident claim settlement.
Schedule a Free Consultation With Our Las Vegas Personal Injury Attorneys
You deserve compensation for all damages caused by another party. Contact our law firm at (702) 570-9000 to schedule your free consultation with one of our Las Vegas personal injury lawyers. At Battle Born Injury Lawyers we’ll fight to get you the maximum compensation available for your personal injury claim.