When someone you care about is injured, this does not only have a negative impact on their life, but your life as well. If your spouse is the victim of an accident resulting from another person’s actions, you may have a loss of consortium claim.
Loss of consortium claims in South Carolina give the spouse a voice if their loved one was injured or killed due to the negligence of another person. If you think you have the grounds for a loss of consortium claim, contact our Greenville personal injury lawyer today at Dan Pruitt Injury Law Firm to speak with our professionals.
Loss of Consortium in South Carolina
In South Carolina, loss of consortium is provided for the victim’s spouse after they have been injured or killed. The damages in loss of consortium claims help to provide compensation for the adverse effects this accident has had on the spouse.
It’s important to understand that loss of consortium cases do not always fall within predictable economic damages. Loss of consortium often includes non-economic damages that don’t necessarily have a dollar value. So, while these claims are legally allowed, insurance companies will resist paying out this compensation or try to settle the claim for less than it’s worth.
What is Required for a Loss of Consortium Claim?
For loss of consortium in South Carolina to apply, it has to include certain elements. These claims are usually based on the loss of benefits or services that the victim provided for their spouse before the accident. Your attorney will have to identify these benefits and services and prove that the victim can no longer provide them due to their injuries.
Below are some examples of the damages you should include in a loss of consortium claim for it to apply:
- Loss of financial support
- Loss of care
- Loss of household services
- Loss of counsel
- Loss of comfort and emotional support
If your spouse was injured in a preventable accident that caused paralysis, this could include loss of consortium damages. For instance, they wouldn’t be able to provide household services due to their disability or maintain the intimate marital relationship they had before the accident.
One aspect of a loss of consortium claim to keep in mind is that some damages may overlap with damages claimed in the personal injury lawsuit.
You cannot claim these damages twice, so personal injury lawsuit damages are excluded when claiming loss of consortium.
How Much is Loss of Consortium Claims Worth?
Damages for loss of consortium are tricky to calculate since they do not fall into the regular perimeters of economic or financial damages. This makes it hard to calculate the value of your claim since there are no strict guidelines to follow. It is also entirely dependent on a case-by-case basis depending on the accident, damages already claimed, the strength of the marital relationship, and other factors.
South Carolina law limits the loss of consortium damages to $500,000 or at least three times the value you receive in compensatory damages. However, this no longer applies if your claim meets specific requirements:
- The defendant had the intention to harm the victim at the time of the accident.
- The defendant was under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or other substances at the time of the accident.
- The defendant has already been convicted of a felony related to the accident.
- The victim had complained before the accident about the defendant’s conduct, which directly resulted in the accident.
The judge or jury will ultimately decide on the value of your loss of consortium damages after your attorney has presented the evidence for your claim.
Filing a Loss of Consortium Claim in South Carolina
The victim’s spouse usually files a loss of consortium claim, but this is also possible for an unmarried partner or very close relative, such as the victim’s parents or children. It is strongly advised that the spouse seek representation from an experienced lawyer who can help with creating the claim. They will help you gather vital evidence that demonstrates a strong relationship and maximizes the value of your damages.
The process of a loss of consortium claim also involves going before a judge and jury, where the defendant’s lawyer could cross-examine you about intimate details of your relationship. This can often be very uncomfortable, but your lawyer can prepare you to answer these and be your advocate against tactics that question you and your loved one’s closeness to each other.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney in Greenville, SC Today
If your spouse was injured, this has most likely significantly impacted your life and the quality of your relationship. That is why you should file a loss of consortium claim to help you get the compensation that you deserve.
At Dan Pruitt Injury Law Firm, our team is dedicated to helping loved ones get the justice they deserve. If you have a potential loss of consortium claim in South Carolina, contact us today at (864) 280-7660 or online for a free case evaluation.