It’s customary, when there’s been a motor vehicle crash or any other type of accident, to focus only on the injuries suffered by persons involved in the accident. The consequences of a personal injury will often be felt by an injured person’s family members, too. Some of those losses, such as lost wages/support, can be recovered in a personal injury claim filed by the injured party. With a claim for loss of consortium, though, the consequences may affect the victim of the accident, as well as other family members.
Loss of consortium, typically paired with a claim for loss of companionship, addresses the inability to secure, engage in or enjoy the benefits of a family relationship, including access to affection and sexual relationships. A claim for loss of consortium may arise out of any type of accident and can be based on a wide range of injuries, from paralysis or amputation to significant burns and permanent scarring or disfigurement. A party may also have a claim for loss of consortium if the pain caused by an injury makes intimacy or other family relationships too difficult to handle.
In the state of New Jersey, there are two parties who typically may have a right to seek damages for loss of consortium: the injured party and his/her spouse. To recover compensation in New Jersey, a spouse must have been legally married to the injured party at the time of the accident. If the parties were legally separated, the spouse has no claim for loss of consortium. Likewise, a domestic partner or person cohabitating with the injured party has no legal claim.
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