Companion Claims for Families of Accident Victims
When a serious accident occurs due to the negligence of another, it is not just the injured person who suffers. His or her spouse also experiences a very real deprivation of the various ways in which that individual would have but can no longer contribute to their marriage. To recognize this serious loss, Georgia law allows the spouse of an injury victim to bring a separate legal claim in his or her own name seeking compensation. These claims — called loss of consortium — are in addition to any damages to which the injured spouse may be entitled and can be substantial under some circumstances.
In Georgia courts, claims for loss of consortium are ancillary to the injured person’s claim. This means that once the underlying claim has been established, all that is required to support the consortium claim is proof that the claimant was married to the injured person at the time of the injury as well as proof — usually by way of testimony — of any of the following losses:
- Loss of affection and companionship
- Loss of household services
- Loss of physical and emotional care
- Loss of sexual intimacy
Recoveries for loss of consortium are not officially pinned to the value of the underlying legal claim — for instance, a spouse does not receive a certain percentage of the injured spouse’s settlement. For this reason, maximizing this type of recovery requires compelling testimony from both spouses in order to vividly illustrate to the jury how their married life has been affected. Experienced Georgia personal injury attorneys know what it takes to effectively present these types of claims, both in court as well as during pre-trial negotiations.