Most people know that if they are injured in an accident caused by another party’s negligence, North Carolina law allows them to pursue a personal injury case against the at-fault party in order to obtain financial compensation for the losses the injuries have caused them to suffer. These losses include medical expenses, loss of income, pain and suffering, and emotional anguish.
But another aspect of North Carolina injury law that victims and their families may not realize is that it also allows spouses of injured victims to pursue damages for the loss of marital benefits the injuries have caused. This type of damages is referred to as “loss of consortium” and is meant to compensate the spouse for the loss of the benefits they received that were associated with the victim.
Some of these benefits are obvious and practical ones, such as caring for the couple’s children, household chores, and preparing meals. These are considered quantifiable benefits because the inability of the victims to now be able to provide these benefits often means that the family now has to pay someone for these services, such as hiring a nanny for childcare or a landscaper to perform yard work.
However, there are other martial benefits that are not quantifiable and cannot be replaced that the victim’s injuries prevent them from being able to offer their spouse, such as companionship, affection, and emotional support.
How Is Loss of Consortium Calculated
When a North Carolina accident attorney prepares a claim for an accident victim, they include both the economic (quantifiable) and noneconomic (non-quantifiable) losses in the claim. The attorney uses several factors to calculate what dollar amount the noneconomic damages are worth.
The same applies when an N.C. accident attorney is preparing a loss of consortium claim. He or she will calculate what the quantifiable losses the spouse has suffered and then determine what the non-quantifiable losses are. Some of the factors used to make that determination include:
- The extent of the loss the spouse has suffered;
- The stability of the couple’s marriage;
- The social activity level the couple had; and
- The life expectancy of the victim and the spouse.
Loss of consortium claims for spouses are usually not available in accident cases where the victim has fully recovered from their injury. These claims are typically reserved in cases where the victim has suffered a catastrophic injury that has left them with permanent disabilities, such as paralysis, amputation, or brain damage.
Contact a Carolinas Injury Attorney Today
If you have been injured in an incident caused by the negligence of another party, a North Carolina personal injury attorney can evaluate your case to see what damages you may be entitled to and what the best course of action is to obtain those damages.
At Shapiro & Appleton, we have been fighting for injured victims and their families for more than three decades and will work diligently to get you the compensation you deserve. Call our office today for a free consultation.