Oregon Loss of Consortium Claim
Posted on January 8, 2021 in Portland Personal Injury Lawyer
It is not uncommon to see that someone has been awarded “loss of consortium” damages as a result of a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit in Oregon. The word “consortium” will likely be unfamiliar to those who do not have much legal experience. However, these damages play a significant role in helping personal injury victims or their families gain closure and compensation in the aftermath of a traumatic incident. Here, we want to define “loss of consortium” damages so that you understand all of the facets of compensation that can be awarded in a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit.
What is loss of consortium?
As we mentioned, the word “consortium” is not commonly used in everyday conversation. However, the history of this word dates back several hundred years and is commonly used to this day when discussing personal injury or wrongful death cases. The courts recognize that the relationship between spouses can be significantly affected in the event one spouse sustains a significant injury or if one spouse passes away due to the careless or negligent actions of somebody else. There are various types of compensation available in the event the negligence of somebody else causes an injury or the death of a spouse, including coverage for:
- The economic contributions of the injured spouse to the household
- Care and affection provided by the spouse
- Sexual relations provided by a spouse
Loss of consortium damages in Oregon
In Oregon, loss of consortium damages are generally viewed as one element of the overall damages in a personal injury or wrongful death case and not as an independent cause of action filed by a spouse. Loss of consortium damages are frequently included as part of the overall pain and suffering damages as part of a wrongful death or personal injury lawsuit.
Some jurisdictions throughout the United States only allow loss of consortium damages to be awarded to a spouse. However, loss of consortium claims in Oregon can also be made by a parent who has lost the love and affection of a child, and vice versa (a child who is lost the love and affection of a parent).
How can a person make a loss of consortium claim in Oregon?
A loss of consortium claim should be filed on behalf of as many family members as possible, and as soon as possible after a significant injury or wrongful death has occurred. In general, because loss of consortium claims will be filed concurrently with other types of damages in these cases, it is strongly advised that plaintiffs work with a skilled personal injury or wrongful death attorney as soon as possible.
How are loss of consortium damages calculated?
Loss of consortium damages can be difficult to calculate. That is because the love, companionship, affection, and sexual relations that a loved one provides are relatively immeasurable. In general, a jury will be instructed to use their best judgment when trying to establish how much loss of consortium damages should be awarded to a spouse or close family member. A jury will typically look at evidence about the type of relationship that the two parties had before the injury or wrongful death occurred and then analyze how the situation has changed after the incident. A jury can look at the total life expectancy of the parties involved and how much time they would have expected to have had that relationship throughout the rest of their life.