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What does 'loss of consortium' mean in a damages claim?

When an Ohio residents are injured in car accidents, they may be aware that they can bring personal injury lawsuits against the negligent or reckless drivers who caused the accidents. In these lawsuits, they may be able to recover expenses to cover their medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, and a less-spoken about type of recovery known as loss of consortium.

In Ohio, loss of consortium falls under the heading of a non-pecuniary loss. That means it is a harm that results from either an injury or loss to a person that did not directly cause the loss of money or wealth.

What is loss of consortium? Generally, it means that the loss affected the ability to show affection towards one's spouse. It could include loss of affection, companionship or even a severe strain on a relationship. Unlike other causes of action related to damages in a car accident, the uninjured spouse brings this one. In addition to this, it is a derivative claim, which means that it cannot be recovered if the accident victim does not recover for his or her injuries.

If an accident victim dies as a result of his or her injuries, surviving family members can bring the claim. The jury considers whether the couple had a harmonious relationship with one another, their living arrangements and the general effect the accident victim's death had on the surviving family members.

A car accident leading to catastrophic injuries is one situation where the accident victim and his or her loved ones may consider filing a personal injury claim to hold the negligent party responsible for their behavior.

Source: Ohio Laws and Rules, http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/2315.18, accessed on August 18, 2015

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