What are damages for "loss of consortium?"

If your injuries, as a result of a defective product, affect your relationship with your spouse, you may be entitled to damages for "loss of consortium."

Many attorneys routinely consider "loss of consortium" damages as damages for decreased or limited sexual activity between the injured party and the spouse. While this is part of a loss of consortium claim, the term also refers to care, companionship, and affection between the injured party and spouse, whether or not there is a decrease or change in sexual activity.

As a result, while this is a valid element of damages which you should consider, you should be aware that a loss of consortium claim may make you and your spouse's sexual activity "fair game" if the matter is litigated. You should discuss the pro's and con's of this element of damages with your spouse and your attorney if you decide to pursue a lawsuit for a product defect.

If you do choose to pursue a claim for loss of consortium, your spouse may also choose to pursue the same claim against the same defendants, even though your spouse was not directly injured by the defective product. (Sometimes a company may be more willing to settle a case where there is more than one plaintiff and the chance for a higher verdict against the company.)

There have been efforts in some jurisdictions to extend loss of consortium to same sex partners and couples who are not married but in a permanent relationship. So far these efforts have been unsuccessful, and there is currently no recovery for loss of consortium by the injured party or the partner.