What is Loss of Consortium in a Virginia Wrongful Death Case?

Loss of consortium is a legal term that refers to an individual’s claim for financial compensation when an injury sustained by their spouse damages their relationship. For example, imagine you and your spouse are injured in a car accident through no fault of your own. Your injuries are fairly minor but your spouse’s injuries are life-threatening and they pass away a few days later. A claim for loss of consortium seeks monetary damages for the adverse impacts the injury has had on your life.

Who is eligible to collect loss of consortium damages in Virginia?

The laws governing wrongful death damages, including loss of consortium, are both complex and precise. If your spouse was killed in an avoidable accident, the experienced Virginia Beach wrongful death attorneys at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp can help. If you would like to discuss possible legal curatives for your loss, call us to schedule a free consultation.

How is Loss of Consortium Defined in Virginia?

Generally speaking, loss of consortium is a claim that can be brought by the spouse of a wrongful death victim. The claim declares a right to financial compensation for the affection, love, companionship, comfort, sexual relations, and guidance that the victim is no longer able to provide.

In Virginia:

  • A surviving spouse may not file for loss of consortium in a non-fatal personal injury case. In a wrongful death case, however, the spouse can pursue damages for support, sorrow, and mental anguish that includes guidance, companionship, comfort, and advice.  
  • The injured victim, rather than the spouse, can pursue loss of consortium damages based on the harm to the spousal relationship caused by the injury.

A qualified Virginia Beach wrongful death lawyer can help you determine whether or not you are eligible to seek compensation for the negative consequences the injury has had on your marital relationship.  

How is Loss of Consortium Calculated?

Loss of consortium is a non-economic damage. This means it is not represented by a set dollar value, as opposed to economic damages, such as lost income and hospital bills, which can be precisely calculated using receipts, bills, and invoices. 

Similar to emotional trauma, pain and suffering, and other non-economic damages, a loss of consortium claim must be supported by evidence such as eyewitness testimony, medical records, and personal diaries. Unfortunately, no amount of evidence will prove the value of your claim.

Your attorney will draft a demand that considers the severity of the accident, medical expenses, and many other factors unique to your case.

Can You Collect Compensation for Loss of Consortium in a Virginia Personal Injury Case?

No, you cannot. The laws in Virginia do not place any financial worth on any of the above-listed items so long as your spouse survived the accident. They do not take into account whether your spouse is able to mentally or physically perform specific tasks the way they used to, such as intimate relations, minding the children, or helping out around the house. As long as your spouse is alive, you are not eligible for damages for loss of consortium in Virginia. 

Can You Collect Compensation for Loss of Consortium in a Virginia Wrongful Death Claim?

Yes, if your spouse passes away due to another person’s negligent or wrongful act, loss of consortium is one of the numerous damages that are recoverable. Since Virginia does not recognize these claims, the surviving spouse may raise a claim for loss of companionship or loss of affection, but not loss of consortium.  

The children or parents of the deceased might also be able to recover damages for loss of companionship or loss of affection. Some other common forms of damages in Virginia wrongful death claims include the victim’s final hospital expenses and funerary costs. A wrongful death claim might also include the lost earnings, future earnings, and pain and suffering of the victim.  

The Virginia Beach wrongful death lawyers at Shapiro, Washburn, & Sharp have more than 50 combined years of experience handling wrongful death cases and have recovered millions in damages for our clients. We have satellite offices in Portsmouth, Norfolk, and Hampton. Call (833) 997-1774 or fill out our simple inquiry form online to schedule your free consultation.

Related Content