Aug 272013

Under tort law in Pennsylvania, a spouse has a separate right to recover in an accident lawsuit such as a car or motorcycle accident case. Known as a “loss of consortium claim,” this type of legal claim is based upon the harm to the relationship between the injured plaintiff and the spouse.

The law recognizes the right of the injured plaintiff’s spouse to recover for his or her own losses, and more specifically changes to the relationship, such as loss of the comfort, society and intimacy.

For example, a motorcycle rider is catastrophically injured after his motorcycle is hit by a truck. The rider suffers major trauma to his leg, which is eventually removed. After discharge from the hospital and rehabilitation hospital, the rider’s wife becomes his primary caretaker. She helps him bathe and use the restroom, and also cooks his meals, does laundry, manages the household bills, etc. Due to the loss of his leg, the rider suffers frequent bouts of anger, depression and anxiety. Prior to the accident, he managed the household and did most of the cooking.

In this example, the wife’s duties have changed drastically after the accident. She is now the primary care taker, and the relationship has changed dramatically. She is understandably upset, and has also begun taking anti-anxiety medications per her doctor to help her cope. Her loss of consortium claim is valid as the relationship between her and her husband has suffered as a result of the motorcycle accident. Therefore, the law would recognize her claim for compensation.

Suggested Reading: Pennsylvania Motorcycle Accident Law – A Spouse’s Right to Recover

Loss of consortium claims are not reserved only for major, catastrophic cases. They can be made in any accident case in which the spouse suffers due to changes in the relationship. For instance, a loss of consortium claim could be made in a car accident case where the husband takes care of all the household duties as well as caring for his injured wife during her rehabilitation period.

Pennsylvania Car & Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

Firm founder, Phil Blackman, takes great pride in representing those injured in car and motorcycle accidents. Schwartz & Blackman handles accident cases in the Pennsylvania and New Jersey area:

  • PA: Berks County, Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Montgomery County, Philadelphia County, Allentown, Lehigh Valley, Norristown, Philadelphia
  • NJ: Atlantic County, Burlington County, Camden County, Gloucester County, Mercer County, Middlesex County, Monmouth County, Camden, Cherry Hill, New Jersey shore cities

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