Something that many accident victims in Missouri are surprised to learn is that their loved ones may also be entitled to compensation in a personal injury claim. Even though the loved one may not have been hurt in the victim’s car accident, he or she may still suffer from it. Personal injury law aims to compensate everyone for the losses they suffered in the accident.
This includes the various forms of anguish that loved ones go through. It is known as loss of consortium.
What is Loss of Consortium in Missouri?
Loss of consortium refers to the physical loss or mental or emotional suffering that a victim’s loved ones will suffer after an accident. The loved ones of a victim deserve compensation for their loss of consortium if they are deprived of the victim’s:
- Sexual relations
- Love and affection
- Emotional support
When the victim’s injuries were relatively minor, the compensation for loss of consortium is fairly low. However, in wrongful death cases or accidents that left the victim permanently disabled or paralyzed, it can be substantial.
Who Can Claim Loss of Consortium Damages?
However, not everyone can claim loss of consortium damages in a personal injury claim in Missouri.
In a typical personal injury lawsuit, only the victim’s spouse has grounds to file a loss of consortium claim.
However, more people can claim loss of consortium in a wrongful death claim. Under Missouri Statutes 537.080 and 537.090, three groups of people can demand compensation for their loss of consortium. They are the deceased victim’s:
If there are no people in these three groups, then the deceased victim’s siblings or any children of those siblings can claim loss of consortium.
Loss of Consortium Claims are Derivative of the Personal Injury Claim
An important aspect of loss of consortium claims in Missouri is that they are considered to be “derivative” of the victim’s underlying personal injury case: They are not quite one and the same. If the victim loses his or her personal injury case, the loss of consortium claim is lost, as well. However, if the victim’s personal injury case wins at trial, that does not necessarily mean that the loss of consortium claim wins, too: The extent of the losses must still be proven. If the underlying personal injury case settles out of court, the loss of consortium claim remains.
Missouri Car Accident Lawyers at the Smith Law Office
The personal injury and car accident lawyers at the Smith Law Office do not just help victims recover the compensation that they deserve: They also provide the legal representation that the victim’s loved ones need to make a full recovery, too. The victim’s close family members are often overlooked in these cases, but they have suffered, as well, and deserve to be compensated for their experiences.
Call the Smith Law Office at (816) 875-9373 or contact them online for legal assistance in St. Joseph, Springfield, Kansas City, or the rest of western Missouri.