When a car accident claimant's injuries affect their emotional and intimate relationship with loved ones, a "loss of consortium" claim might be possible. But as with every other component of "damages" (compensable losses) in a car accident case, the basis for this kind of claim will likely come under scrutiny. In this article, we'll explain:
Basically, "loss of consortium" refers to the negative effects that the car accident has had on the injured person's relationship with their loved ones:
In a car accident case, "loss of consortium" may be a separate claim brought by a family member against the at-fault driver, or it may be a component of the damages that are being sought by the injured person themselves.
However loss of consortium is defined, once it is claimed, it's very likely to come under scrutiny during car accident deposition questioning.
When a car accident lawsuit is filed in court, a deposition is a pre-trial tool that is used to get information from parties and witnesses. The person being deposed must answer a series of questions under oath, and a court reporter is there to transcribe the proceedings. (Get more car accident deposition tips.)
Where a "loss of consortium" claim is made, some very personal questions may be asked. In this article, we'll discuss the kinds of deposition questions to expect related to loss of consortium.
The scope of the questions being asked at the deposition will depend on the specifics of the loss of consortium claim:
Let's look at the kinds of ground you can expect questions to cover in both types of loss of consortium claims.
Your Marriage/Relationship and Marital/Relationship History. You'll be asked to provide details on your own marital/relationship history, and that of your spouse/partner (including reasons for any divorces in the past). As for your current marriage/relationship, you'll be asked about your children, whether you've been separated, and other details.
Your Relationship with Your Spouse/Partner. Here's where the questions will get personal (maybe surprisingly so). You'll be asked how much time you and your spouse/partner spent together before and after the injury, including the kinds of activities you participated in, and the frequency of sexual relations and other intimate contact.
You'll also be asked whether you've participated in counseling or therapy sessions (together or separately) and whether you (or your spouse/partner) have ever seen a health care or mental health professional for issues related to sexual dysfunction.
You can also expect questions as to whether you or your spouse/partner have ever been named in any criminal or civil allegations of abuse (either during or prior to your marriage/relationship).
Remember, most of this information is fair game for the defendant to request. You're putting the subject matter "in play" by asking the defendant to compensate you and your spouse/partner for losses associated with some very intimate aspects of your relationship.
When the injury affects a parent's ability to provide care and support for a child, deposition questions might cover:
the type and frequency of care that the injured person provided prior to the injury, and the type of frequency of care that is possible post-injury
detailed information on how the injuries and their effects have made it impossible for the parent and child to develop or continue a normal, loving, supportive relationship, and
the impact that the injuries have had on the parent's ability to provide child care assistance and support, and to participate in household and family-related activities.
Having an experienced car accident lawyer on your side can be crucial to getting the best result for your claim. And when loss of consortium is part of your case, your lawyer will work with you to put together the best narrative, framing you (and your loved ones') experience in the most honest and effective way.
Your lawyer can also be your best ally at the deposition phase of your case. While you'll probably need to answer most deposition questions (including those related to a loss of consortium claim), your attorney will do everything possible to prepare you for the process, and will be sitting right next to you throughout. They'll know what's fair game and what's not, and will speak up and advise you, on and off the record.
Learn more about finding and hiring the right car accident lawyer. You can also use the tools on this page to connect with a car accident lawyer in your area.