When a person is injured in an accident, their spouse may also suffer if the injuries affect their marital relationship. In particular, a spouse may feel emotional distress because of the other spouse’s injuries. Indiana law allows spouses to seek compensation for harm to their relationship through a “loss of consortium” claim. Loss of consortium refers to a legal claim for the loss of companionship and services in a marital relationship due to injuries caused by another party’s negligence.
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Who Can Bring a Loss of Consortium Claim in Indiana?
Only the legal spouse of a person injured in an accident may file a loss of consortium claim in Indiana. Even if two people have been in a committed relationship for decades and have children together, a partner may not file a loss of consortium claim unless they are legally married to the partner who suffers injuries. Because same-sex marriage is recognized as a constitutional right in the United States, same-sex spouses may pursue a loss of consortium claim in Indiana.
How Do You Establish Liability in a Loss of Consortium Claim in Indiana?
To establish liability in a loss of consortium claim, you must prove that the opposing party caused your spouse’s injuries. You must also show how you have suffered harm in your marital relationship because of those injuries. Some of the evidence that a lawyer might use to prove fault in a loss of consortium claim includes the following:
- Photos and videos of the scene of the accident
- Police and accident reports
- Eyewitness testimony
- Surveillance video footage of the accident
- Medical records from the treatment of your spouse’s injuries
- Bills and invoices for household or childcare services you must hire to replace the services previously performed by your spouse
- Your testimony concerning the nature and status of your relationship with your spouse, including details such as activities or travel you enjoyed together before the injury, the advice and emotional support you provided each other before the injury, or the frequency of your sexual relations
- Supporting testimony about your marital relationship from family members, friends, and neighbors
- Expert testimony concerning your spouse’s prognosis or your and your spouse’s life expectancies
What Factors Would a Jury Consider in an Indiana Loss of Consortium Claim?
Because a loss of consortium claim typically compensates a spouse for non-financial losses they have suffered, a judge or jury must consider various factors to determine a monetary figure that fully compensates a spouse for their loss of consortium claim. Some of the factors they may consider include the following:
- The severity of the injuries suffered by your spouse and the physical impairments that the injuries cause
- The duration of the impairment to your marital relationship or the duration of your spouse’s medical recovery
- The stability of the marriage, including whether you and your spouse have a close, intimate relationship or whether you have grown distant or regularly argue
- Your and your spouse’s life expectancies
- The specific nature of your loss, including whether you have lost your spouse’s intimate relations, companionship, affection, guidance, or household services
- The mental anguish, emotional distress, or shock you have experienced because of your spouse’s accident
What Compensation Can I Recover Through a Loss of Consortium Claim?
A loss of consortium claim can compensate you for the loss of relations between you and your spouse due to their injuries or resulting permanent disability. You might seek compensation for the loss of:
- Your spouse’s companionship
- Intimacy and sexual relations with your spouse
- Your spouse’s advice, guidance, and protection
- The services your spouse performed around the household that you must now perform or hire someone else to perform, including childcare, housekeeping, or home maintenance
- Emotional stability due to the shock of your spouse’s accident
An attorney can help you better understand your rights and legal options for pursuing compensation for loss of consortium.
What Is the Deadline for Filing a Loss of Consortium Claim in Indiana?
Under Indiana’s statute of limitations for personal injury claims, you generally have two years from the date of the accident that injured your spouse to file a loss of consortium lawsuit against those liable for your spouse’s injuries. The court might permanently dismiss a loss of consortium lawsuit filed after the deadline. If so, you could lose your right to seek compensation in civil court. For this reason, don’t wait to talk to a personal injury lawyer about your claim. An attorney can ensure the necessary paperwork is filed promptly and correctly to protect your right to pursue compensation.
How Can an Attorney Help?
A personal injury lawyer can help you seek compensation in a loss of consortium claim by:
- Investigating the accident that caused your spouse’s injuries to identify all liable parties
- Gathering evidence to support your claim and build a strong case in your favor
- Obtaining documentation to prove the losses you have suffered because of your spouse’s injuries, including medical records, witness testimony, and expert reports
- Drafting and filing legal claims and demand letters on your behalf to pursue financial relief
- Fighting to maximize your compensation through a negotiated settlement or by taking your loss of consortium claim to trial
Contact an Indiana Personal Injury Lawyer Today
If your spouse suffered injuries in an accident in Indiana that someone else caused, contact Truitt Law Offices for a free, no-obligation consultation. You deserve to pursue compensation for the loss you experience due to your spouse’s injuries. Taking legal action can be challenging. But you don’t have to go through this difficult time alone. An Indiana personal injury lawyer can assist you with seeking financial relief to help you move forward with your life.
Visit Our Indiana Personal Injury Law Offices