- Loss of consortium is a type of damage stemming from the lasting impact of a severe injury or death on the victim’s spousal or familial relationships.
- Minnesota law allows close family members to file a loss of consortium claim. However, spouses typically have the best chances of success.
- Plaintiffs must satisfy several elements to succeed when claiming loss of consortium.
- Several factors will impact the amount of compensation a plaintiff can obtain in a loss of consortium case.
- A skilled attorney can help defeat the common defenses the opposition will use.
There are lots of aspects of personal injury law cases that can be confusing. The concept of loss of consortium is one example. If you’ve lost a loved one, or someone close to you is so severely injured that your relationship with that person is permanently altered, you may have grounds to claim loss of consortium.
The attorneys with Sand Law have years of experience helping clients obtain compensation for loss of consortium and several other damages. Let us show you what we can do for you. Schedule a free consultation by calling 651-291-7263 or contacting us online.
Loss of Consortium in Minnesota
Loss of consortium is a legal concept that recognizes the harm a spouse or family member suffers due to the injury of another. In Minnesota, this claim allows the affected party to seek compensation for the injury’s negative impact on their relationship.
For example, a wife may claim loss of consortium because her husband’s brain injury is so severe he no longer recognizes her. Or, she may make this claim because her husband is paralyzed and can no longer participate in the activities they love to do together.
Who Can File a Loss of Consortium Claim?
In Minnesota, spouses are typically most likely to file a loss of consortium claim successfully. But you should know this claim isn’t limited to spouses.
Other family members, such as children or parents, may also have the legal standing to file a claim. However, the Supreme Court of Minnesota has previously not recognized the rights of children to file for loss of consortium.
Establishing a Loss of Consortium Claim
Plaintiffs must establish certain elements to pursue a loss of consortium claim in Minnesota successfully. These elements are crucial components that form the basis of the legal argument. Here are a few elements to consider:
- Relationship: The plaintiff (the person filing the claim) must demonstrate a valid and existing relationship with the injured party. This relationship is the foundation of the plaintiff’s case.
- Injury: There must be a provable injury to the party from whom the consortium has been lost. This injury could be physical, emotional, or both, but it must be directly linked to another party’s negligent actions or misconduct.
- Damages: The plaintiff must show that the injury to the other party resulted in specific damages. These damages can include a loss of companionship, affection, intimacy, and support.
- The burden of proof: Like any legal claim, the burden of proof rests on the plaintiff. This means that the individual filing the loss of consortium claim must provide sufficient evidence to convince the court of the validity of their case.
- Evidence and documentation: The plaintiff and their attorney must gather and present relevant evidence to support the claim. This evidence may include medical records, witness statements, and documentation of the impact of the injury or loss on the relationship.
Factors Affecting Damages
Once the plaintiff establishes the elements of a loss of consortium, the court will consider various factors when determining the extent of damages. These factors play a crucial role in shaping the compensation the plaintiff obtains.
- Severity of injury: The court will assess the severity of the injury suffered by the affected party. More severe injuries often result in higher damages, reflecting the more significant impact on the relationship.
- Impact on relationship: The court will consider how significantly the injury has affected the relationship between the plaintiff and the injured party.
- Duration of loss: The duration of the loss of consortium is another critical factor. A temporary loss may result in different damages than a permanent or long-term loss.
- Emotional distress: The plaintiff’s emotional distress due to the injury plays a vital role. This distress includes the emotional pain and trauma endured due to the harm caused to their loved one.
Common Defenses Against Loss of Consortium Claims
Defendants in loss of consortium cases may employ various defenses to challenge the claim’s validity. Plaintiffs must be aware of potential defenses the opposition may raise during legal proceedings.
- Lack of a relationship: Defendants may argue that the plaintiff didn’t have a sufficiently close relationship with the injured party to warrant a Loss of consortium claim.
- Pre-existing issues: The defense could claim the relationship between the plaintiff and the injured party had pre-existing problems or issues that contributed to the alleged loss of consortium.
- Contributory negligence: Minnesota is a comparative negligence state. If the injured party contributed to causing the accident, the court will lessen the plaintiff’s compensation by the corresponding percentage. For example, if the plaintiff’s loss of consortium damages are $20,000, and the court rules the injured party was 20% ($4,000) to blame, the plaintiff will receive $16,000 instead.
- Lack of damages: Defendants may also dispute the extent of damages claimed. They could argue that the alleged losses aren’t a direct result of the injury or that the plaintiff exaggerates them.
Contact Sand Law to Speak with an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
Navigating the legal intricacies of a loss of consortium claim can be challenging. It will only be possible with the guidance of an experienced personal injury attorney. Sand Law attorneys are ready to put their skills and knowledge to work for you.
Frequently Asked Questions About Loss of Consortium
Who can file a loss of consortium claim in Minnesota?
A spouse or family member in Minnesota can file a loss of consortium claim. The critical requirement is a close familial relationship with the injured party.
What types of damages can be recovered in a loss of consortium claim?
Damages in a loss of consortium claim may include compensation for the loss of companionship, affection, intimacy, and support resulting from the injury to the other party. The severity and duration of the impact on the relationship will influence the awarded damages.
What is the statute of limitations for filing a loss of consortium claim in Minnesota?
The Minnesota statute of limitations, or deadline, for a personal injury lawsuit is six years from the date the victim suffered the injury. If the loss of consortium claim stems from a death caused by another’s negligence, the statute of limitations is three years.