Automobile accidents can cruelly deprive a family of one of its members. Sometimes children lose a mother or a father and a spouse loses a partner in the marriage. A sudden loss of a spouse and parent can also take away its primary breadwinner. Even if a family member suffers injury, he or she may never be the same again. This is why surviving family members sometimes pursue a loss of consortium as part of a personal injury suit.
FindLaw explains that the concept of loss of consortium, also called a loss of companionship or a loss of affection, refers to the specific loss of the services rendered by a family member to the rest of the family. In cases of death, a father or mother who had a well paying job can no longer provide that income to the family because that family member had died in an accident.
Family members who suffer injury in an accident and survive may become disabled as a result. A husband who once provided personal affection to a spouse can no longer do so, or may also lose the ability to perform his share of the household chores and child rearing. A disabled spouse might also have to seek a lower paying job because he or she no longer can work at a current place of employment. Accident injuries may deprive a family of affection, parenting, or companionship in other ways.
While surviving family members may litigate for loss of consortium, there is no telling how a judge might award such damages since they are noneconomic in nature. A judge may examine the overall relationship of the marriage, such as whether the spouses had a loving and strong union. Judges may also look at the life expectancy of each spouse and the level of care and companionship received by the surviving or uninjured spouse.