When you’re injured, it’s not just hard on you – it’s hard on the people who care for you.
Your wife can be paid for her loss of consortium. This is for the loss of your companionship – emotional and physical – resulting from the injury.
Injuries make people harder – sometimes impossible – to be with. A husband might “withdraw”. A loving wife might be so worn down by her pain that she snaps or cries when her husband asks if the salt is at the table.
Either might be unable to perform their side of the marriage “deals” that every couple works out with one another – the cleaning, or the yardwork, or the tax forms.
One is hurt, the other cries because their friend isn’t there for them.
Some can’t endure intimate relations because of the physical pain caused by the accident. One wife with a badly sprained back couldn’t sit next to her husband in church for more than a few minutes.
Insurance attorneys try to minimize this part of any lawsuit. They say that jurors just see this as something that you have to endure as part of marriage.
Shakespeare said that only someone who never felt pain can make fun of a scar. I’ve had at least one case where the wife’s story made a difference.
Herb was in his 80’s. He was in good health, but Gloria, his wife, had Alzheimers and was legally blind.
Gloria would not let anyone care for her but Herb. Her daughter couldn’t do it, her stepson couldn’t do it, and no nursing service could do it.
When Herb had a terrible accident one night, Gloria wandered the street where they lived until a neighbor called the stepson.
When Gloria was taken to visit Herb in the nursing home and he turned out to be in the hospital instead, she attacked her son in law.
After being sedated, Gloria told the doctor she dreamed that she had killed her family. When Herb was discharged to a nursing home, Gloria had to be admitted to stay in his room so he could care for her while he was recuperating.
Herb had a decent recovery – all things considered. But he still could not care for their home the way he used to.
I thought Gloria had a strong claim for loss of consortium. The insurance lawyers laughed at this – they always do.
But when the lawsuit settled, I was convinced one thing the insurance lawyers did not want to deal with was testimony from the neighbor about the poor, frightened, sick woman who was on his doorstep two nights before Christmas, not knowing if she would ever see her husband again.
Gloria’s claim was for loss of consortium, or companionship, It can mean your husband – or wife’s – inability to care for you because of the accident – or it can mean the lack of their companionship, emotional or physical. It may not be a factor in many cases – but when it counts, it can count big.
I have been a lawyer over 30 years. Just about every injury that a married person suffers has an effect on their husband or wife. If you want to know how this will affect your lawsuit, talk with an experienced Accident Attorney. Call me, William Strubbe, at 513-621-4775.
Because all situations are different, and because there may be other facts pertaining to your case that I don’t know about, you should not rely on this answer for legal advice. I am not your attorney, and no lawyer client relationship has been formed.