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Can I claim loss of consortium damages?

When it comes to injuries in a car accident, most plaintiffs think about the extent and permanence of their injuries and the cost of medical care needed to get better. However, there are a wide variety of other injuries that plaintiffs will endure as the result of an injurious crash. In fact, even a plaintiff's spouse may suffer damages as a result of a car accident.

When a noninjured spouse claims damages relating to a car accident, they are usually related to loss of companionship, also referred to as loss of consortium. Loss of consortium refers to the harm that a spouse suffers indirectly as a result of his or her husband or wife's complete or partial incapacitation.

Here are some of the issues that might fall under the category of a loss of consortium claim:

-- Loss of companionship: This refers to the loss of sexual companionship, loss of friendship and loss of the ability to enjoy time with one's spouse. Although difficult to quantify in monetary terms, the loss of these kinds of marital benefits will have a direct and real emotional impact on the spouse of an injured person.

-- Loss of household services: California spouses tend to share household tasks, which may include cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, taking care of children, driving the grandchildren to and from school, bookkeeping, managing the investment accounts and other types of chores involved with the general running of a household. Although we don't tend to think about it, these services have a real monetary value, and to replace a spouse who performs these tasks could be very expensive.

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