Legal Concepts: What Does Loss of Consortium Mean? October 12, 2023.
Life is precious, and the law acknowledges that by allowing individuals to seek compensation for a type of harm known as loss of consortium. This loss, which refers to the absence of a loved one’s presence and emotional support, occurs when someone’s negligence results in a wrongful death.
The U.S. courts uphold a system in which compensation must be provided when a life is wrongfully shortened by an act of negligence. Loss of consortium can have devastating effects on a person’s life. Those affected by this type of harm deserve to receive compensation.
How to Define Loss of Consortium
When you lose a loved one, you suffer in several ways beyond just the emotional pain of that death. For example, if the loved one earned an income that you relied on, you may be in financial peril.
Loss of consortium reflects another type of loss, though this one can’t be easily defined financially. Loss of consortium reflects the loss of companionship you will feel now that the person is gone. Depending on the relationship you have with that person, that companionship may include:
- Familial affection
- Romantic or sexual relations
While these concepts are easy to describe, they are difficult to define legally. However, the loss of these types of relationships is devastating. Monetary compensation cannot reduce the grief associated with losing a loved one, but it can offset the costs of therapy and other expenses and serve as a form of justice.
The Emotional and Relational Impact of a Wrongful Death on Loved Ones
Losing a loved one is always difficult. No matter how old they are when a parent dies, a child will usually feel grief about that loss for the rest of their days. The same is true for many close family and friends.
But this loss is magnified when a loved one dies before the end of their natural life. A wrongful death compounds the loss because you know that your loved one is gone due to the negligent actions of another.
This additional harm can be rewarded in wrongful death lawsuits.
Loss of Consortium: Legal Considerations and Compensation
There are several types of damages that you can be awarded as part of a wrongful death lawsuit. The type of damages that you are likely most familiar with are economic damages. These represent compensatory damages that cover any losses or expenses that result from the death.
Additionally, you can receive non-economic damages. These are damages that can’t be strictly defined. Instead, it is compensation for harms like pain and suffering and loss of consortium.
Loss of consortium damages is a type of compensation that you receive to make up for the loss of companionship you suffered. Since there is no way to put an exact value to this, these damages are usually calculated as a multiple of any economic damages you suffered due to the loss.
Typically, your personal injury lawyer will request three times the value of your economic damages for your loss of consortium claim. This value represents the damage cap for non-economic damages in Ohio, making it a good value to request.
How Long Do I Have to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Ohio?
Typically, you have two years from the date of the death of a loved one to file a wrongful death lawsuit. If you miss that deadline, your case will be dismissed.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Ohio?
In Ohio, a wrongful death lawsuit is brought by a personal representative of the estate of the deceased. The benefactors of the lawsuit are typically the surviving spouse, children, and parents of the deceased. However, other family members may also join the lawsuit if they can show that they suffered a meaningful loss of consortium.
How Does My Lawyer Prove That Another Party Was Responsible for the Death of a Loved One?
The legal concept of wrongful death means that someone died due to the negligence of another. To prove that another party was negligent, your attorney needs to show that:
- They had a duty to care for the person who died
- They violated that duty due to carelessness or intentional action
- That careless or intentional action caused the death of your loved one
- You suffered meaningful financial or emotional harm due to the loss of your loved one
Once your lawyer can meet that standard, you are eligible to receive compensation in a wrongful death lawsuit.
How Much Will Lawyer Fees Cost Me in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Nearly all personal injury lawyers take wrongful death cases on contingency. This means that you only get charged a fee if they successfully recover money for you. If you don’t get any money, you won’t pay the lawyer anything.
Assuming they do get money for you, though, the lawyer will charge you a percentage of that award as their fee. What percentage you pay and what counts as compensation will be fully explained during your free case evaluation. You are never required to hire a lawyer without understanding how much they will charge.
Contact a Cleveland Wrongful Death Attorney at Mellino Law
The loss of a loved one is never pleasant, and it is indescribably worse when it happens before it should. You will feel this loss of consortium for the rest of your life. While there is little we can do to relieve your grief, at Mellino Law, we can help you seek compensation that may help you move past the devastating loss.
Contact our law firm today to schedule a free case evaluation with lawyers who care.