How Much is Your Sex Life Worth? Loss of Consortium is a Valid Legal Theory
Washington law allows compensation in personal injury, wrongful death claims if your spouse, child, or parent became seriously injured or even killed in an accident that someone else caused, they may have standing to sue for those damages. You may also file a lawsuit seeking compensation for the lost wages, medical bills, and/or pain and suffering.
But what about your suffering? What about the sexual relationship you had with your spouse that, since the accident, is gone? What about the trips you used to take together that now you’ll have to take without your spouse, or the invaluable advice your dad provided that he can no longer give to you?
How much are these untangible losses worth? In some states, nothing at all. But residents of Washington state may be eligible to sue for “loss of consortium,” or the loss of companionship or intimacy experienced from a family member’s death or injury.
Washington law includes “loss of consortium” on the list of damages it allows in personal injury actions. But what does the term mean, exactly?
“Loss of consortium” defined
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines “consortium” as “the legal right of one spouse to the company, affection, and assistance of, and to sexual relations with, the other.” The word derives from the Latin word “consort,” which literally translates as “fellowship” but which has taken on connotations of intimacy, especially of a physical or sexual nature.
If you’re filing a personal injury claim, your spouse could attach a “loss of consortium” claim because of the damage the injury has caused to your sex life. A good attorney is invaluable in these cases, because insurance companies will almost certainly dispute such a claim. You’ll want a strong advocate on your side should they demand evidence or testimony regarding your sexual relations with your spouse before the incident.
Companionship also counts
If you’re squeamish about discussing sex and intimacy in the courts, you may decide to claim “loss of consortium” for other reasons – loss of a spouse or family member’s companionship, for instance, or advice.
What if Dad used to take his young daughter to the park and hold hands with her on the swing set? “Loss of consortium” could be claimed on the daughter’s behalf. What if he was teaching his son to play baseball but can’t do so any more because of an injury or death? Again, “loss of consortium” applies.
In Washington, “loss of consortium” is allowable as a claim in case of a wrongful death or semi-permanent injury (one whose effects are expected to last about six months or more). It’s one way in which the state recognizes the often intangible losses suffered when a family member loses his or her ability to function normally, or dies as a result of someone else’s actions or neglect.
Lawyer up, and get what’s fair
Think of “loss of consortium” as the non-economic counterpart to “loss of essential services.” If the injured or deceased family member provided a service that you’ll now have to pay someone to do — mowing the law, for instance — the courts allow damages to be paid for that loss. Insurance companies are used to paying these sorts of damages, yet they tend to balk at “loss of consortium” claims.
Why? Maybe they fight “loss of consortium” because it’s more difficult for the plaintiff to prove — although, again, a good lawyer can be an enormous help. Maybe they challenge these claims because they don’t see them often. If so, that’s a shame, because the law clearly entitles family members to compensation for lost company, companionship, advice and, yes, intimacy when a third party is found liable for someone’s serious injury or death.
Seeking damages for “loss of consortium” is not only fair and just, it’s also smart. Why not get what you deserve? The attorneys in the Quiroga Law Office will help you gain what’s coming to you in personal injury, wrongful death, and other tort claims. Call us today for a consultation at 509-927-3840.
“Loss of consortium”: How Much is Your Sex Life Worth? | Copyrighted Material of the Quiroga Law Office, PLLC