Lets take a car accident case as an example to explain loss of consortium. Imagine that you are driving through an intersection and another driver T-bones you. As a result of the car accident you are injured. God forbid this actually happens, you are not the only person that gets hurt in this accident. Your work suffers, your family suffers and of course you suffer as well.
A claim for loss of consortium arises when you are hurt in this car accident, and injuries are also sustained by your spouse. Lear v. Norfolk and Western Ry. Co., 815 S.W.2d 12 (Mo. Ct. App. W.D. 1991). So, when we first meet after your car accident we often will have your spouse come into the office as well. We want to know how your car accident has hurt them as well.
What Types of Loses Can my Spouse Recover as a Result of My Car Accident?
Your spouse is so important in your life. They are someone who you love, rely on, and spend most of your day with. Your spouse can recover from loss of services, assistance with household chores, care, love, sexual intercourse, comfort, affection, and anything else that would be normally available in your life but for your car accident. Novak v. Kansas City Transit, Inc., 365 S.W.2d 539 (Mo. 1963).
We spend a lot of time learning about the various chores you are unable to do because of the accident. We talk about the stresses the accident has caused on your marriage, on your kids and other parts of your life that may not be readily apparent when knowing that you got into an accident. This is such an important part of your claim that is often overlooked by other lawyers. Your spouse was hurt by that car that ran the red light sometimes as much as you.
What Must We Prove for Loss of Consortium?
We look at loss of consortium as a separate and distinct part of the claim from the actual car accident suit. We will gather evidence to prove that the spouse has personally sustained damages as a result of the accident. We have been known to go to dinner with our clients to see how the injury has changed the family dynamic. We will ask questions about chores, babysitting, car rides, if they have taken off work and other parts of life that have changed because of the accident.
What Are Examples of Loss of Consortium?
- Cannot cut the grass and do other chores that they normally do;
- Cannot take care of the children;
- Cannot vacuum, life the laundry up the stairs, or perform other household chores;
- Is irritable;
- No longer engages in sports activities with the spouse;
- Cannot have intercourse;
- Loss of Companionship;
- Emotional Distress;
- Humiliation and embarrassment;
- Acts of Love and affection.
What is the Statute of Limitations for a Claim of Loss of Consortium?
Typically, in Missouri, there is a 5 year claim for loss of consortium. Loss of consortium timing is considered the same as the underlying personal injury claim. To learn more about the statute of limitations for a personal injury claim, click below:
Who Has the Burden of Proof for Loss of Consortium?
The spouse will have the burden of proof. That means that we must prove that the spouse was actually injured as a result of the accident. We will have several meetings that way we properly prove that the spouse was injured. We have proven many loss of consortium claims and have the experience to properly work up these cases.
When must a Loss of Consortium Claim be Plead?
A loss of consortium claim must be pled within 30 days of the original petition according to Supreme Court Rule 66.01(a). The Court CANNOT make an exception for this regardless of how meritorious the case is. We have a checklist that we follow to make sure that we properly plead this cause of action. If not plead you and your spouse can miss out on thousands of dollars of compensation!
How Can I Talk to You About Loss of Consortium or My Car Accident Case?
We are always available to talk to you about your case. We offer free consultations to anyone who calls in. If you can’t come to our office we are more than willing to come to you. We understand that when you are injured it is difficult to get around. If you would like us to help you call 816-760-2700.
Robert Kinsman is a personal injury, mass tort, business litigation, and employment discrimination attorney who practices in Kansas City, Missouri. He graduated from the University of Missouri Kansas City School of Law and has been practicing law for several years now. Robert Kinsman is passionate about normalizing the life of his clients after they have been seriously injured. Learn more about his experience here.