If your spouse suffered a serious injury in a motor vehicle accident, he or she might be able to file a personal injury claim to recover financial damages. That claim will zero in on the fault of the party that caused the accident, citing negligence, unlawful activity and other factors.
Depending on the facts surrounding the auto accident -- and the extent of your spouse's injuries -- you might be able to file a claim for damages, too. Specifically, you could have a viable claim for loss of consortium.
Loss of consortium refers to the loss of benefits that you formerly received through your relationship with your spouse. The lost benefits could include loss of companionship, loss of intimate relations, decreased quality of life and loss of family services.
How do you file a claim for loss of consortium?
When a New Jersey resident has a viable loss of consortium claim relating to his or her spouse's injuries, the lawyer handling the case will add an addendum to the spouse's personal injury claim. In other words, you will not file a separate action. Rather, you will include yourself as an additional plaintiff in your spouse's filing.
Merely stating that you wish to receive loss of consortium benefits is not enough. You must provide evidence, explanations and arguments to back up your claims. For example, you'll need to show that your marriage was both stable and loving and likely to endure. You'll also need to describe your and your spouse's living arrangements.
Further, you'll have to state the nature of the companionship, care and other services your spouse provided you -- and how these have diminished as a result of your spouse's injuries. Finally, you'll need to offer life expectancy estimates for both you and your spouse.
Including a loss of consortium claim in your lawsuit
When you and your spouse are working with a personal injury attorney to formulate your spouse's car accident-related lawsuit, be sure to ask whether a claim for loss of consortium is appropriate. Your lawyer can help you review your situation to determine whether you can include a loss of consortium claim in your spouse's personal injury lawsuit.