Individuals injured in Pennsylvania accidents, whether it is a car accident, a slip and fall accident or a construction workplace accident, often sustain serious injuries, Seriously injured individuals may file lawsuits against negligent parties and recover damages such as:
In many instances, injured individuals’ lives are significantly affected. Moreover, people close to injured victims are also affected, i.e., spouses, children and parents.
Spouses of injured individuals may also have a claim against the negligent parties. This type of claim is known as a loss of consortium claim. In Pennsylvania, it is well settled that an uninjured spouse can recover losses that arise from the deprivation of the injured spouse’s society and services, i.e., intimacy, companionship, affection, assistance, support, etc. It is a derivative claim that emerges from “the impact of one spouse’s physical injuries upon the other spouse’s marital privileges and amenities.” Darr Construction Co. v. Workmen’s Comp. Appeal Board., 552 Pa. 400 (1998).
In order to recover for a loss of consortium claim, the uninjured spouse must put forth evidence to show how his/her marriage and life have been affected by his/her spouse’s injuries. Consider the following scenario, a husband falls from a roof while at work and suffers catastrophic injuries and cannot return to work for a whole year. Prior to the fall accident, the injured husband and his wife divided all the work for their household evenly, including caring for their children. They both did housework, i.e., cleaned, cooked, etc. The husband dropped their kids off at school in the morning, and the wife picked them up after school. They both took their children to soccer games and other extracurricular activities. The husband is now immobile due to his catastrophic injuries, and he needs someone to take care of his needs. Not only does the wife care for her husband, she also has to do 100% of the housework and care for their children alone. In addition, she lost her husband’s companionship in terms of guidance, support, and they no longer are able to have a physical intimate relationship. In this situation, the wife will have a loss of consortium claim and will need to testify in detail how her life is affected.
There is no schedule or guideline on how much she will be able to recover, but the evidence she presents will impact the amount of her recovery.
Many uninjured spouses of individuals injured in accidents do not know that they may have legal rights against at fault parties. If your husband or wife was injured in an accident and you want to know your legal rights, in addition to your spouse’s legal rights, call Daniel O’Brien to schedule a free consultation. 877.944.8396.