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Loss of Consortium

Loss of Consortium in Rhode Island

When your spouse or loved one is injured at the hands of a negligent party, it can have a substantial impact on your entire life. Loss of consortium claims can occur in any type of injury case, including an auto accident. Car accidents in Rhode Island are a leading cause of loss of consortium claims. They may be left with chronic injuries, or be unable to complete basic tasks, forcing you to become a full-time caretaker. Maybe they are suffering with mental health issues, and are unable to show you the same level of affection as before the accident. Regardless, neither of you should have to suffer because of the careless actions of someone else. Many people are unaware that in Rhode Island, they are entitled to recovering damages for the loss suffered due to their spouse or family member’s accident. Rhode Island Personal Injury Attorney David Tapalian and the experts at Tapalian Law can help you hold the negligent party responsible for their actions against you.

What is Loss of Consortium?

Loss of Consortium in RI refers to a claim filed by anyone who has suffered a loss of a “family relationship” with another family member due to injuries, or even death caused by some else’s negligence. According to Rhode Island General Law Section 9-1-41, any married person, parent, or minor is entitled to recover damages for loss of companionship caused by the “tortious injuries” to their family member. Some of the damages that this alludes to include:

  • Emotional or mental connection
  • Love, physical affection, or comfort
  • Basic living activities including household tasks, or caring for children

This list only consists of common damages suffered by family members of personal injury victims. However, many situations are entirely unique, and you should consult a Rhode Island Personal Injury Lawyer with regard to your specific situation.

These types of damages are considered “non-economic general damages”, because they refer to emotional and mental pain and suffering. Unlike medical bills or lost wages, loss of consortium in RI damages are not easy to put a price on, and often the other party’s insurance will try to compensate you with less than you deserve. A skilled Personal Injury Attorney in Rhode Island like David Tapalian can negotiate on your behalf so that you receive a fair settlement for your distress.

Examples of Loss of Consortium Cases in Rhode Island

Loss of Consortium damages can be difficult to understand. Below, we have highlighted some famous loss of consortium examples from real Rhode Island cases:

Ho Rath vs. Rhode Island Hospital, 2015
Ho Roth involved two parents who pursued a case against RI Hospital after their daughter was born with a genetic disorder. They asserted their loss of consortium, and claimed that due to their daughter’s misdiagnosed Thalassemia, they were unable to have a normal parent-daughter relationship with her. They asserted that the negligence of their doctor caused their daughter’s chronic issues, and they sought a $50,000+ settlement. The case arose after extensive legal battles for damages caused to their daughter in other areas such as medical bills.

Smith vs. Davol Inc. and Bard Inc., 2016
Mr. Wayne Smith suffered from chronic pain and mental anguish after doctors inserted a recalled patch for his Hernia from distributors Davol Inc. and Bard Inc. He filed a suit for their negligence, and for the continuous medical bills and pain and suffering he had to endure. His wife, Mrs. Smith, also filed for loss of consortium as part of the suit. Mrs. Smith contended that she suffered from “great pain and mental anguish” because of the strained relationship she had with her husband after the accident. Further, she said that she suffered because of his inability to complete basic tasks or services due to his injuries. The couple alleged that because of the Defendants’ negligent actions, Mr. Smith’s injuries impaired the “protection, care and assistance, society, companionship, affection, love, comfort, support, guidance and other benefits of the marital relationship.” The court sided with Mrs. Smith and the couple was successful in their recovery of loss of consortium damages.

Desjarlais vs. USAA Insurance Company, 2003
In this case, the wife of a car accident victim sought loss of consortium damages after her husband was left with severe medical problems. The wife claimed that the accident had changed their relationship, forcing her to be a full-time care taker for her husband. She also alleged her husband, who pursued his own case against the defendant’s insurance, was awarded a settlement of $100,000 for his own claim. Mrs. Desjarlais unfortunately did not recover compensation for her loss of consortium because she waited until after her husband had settled his claim before filing hers. The Supreme Court of Rhode Island held that a loss of consortium claim is dependent on a plaintiff’s success in alleging the underlying claim, and set the example for hundreds of cases to come. Had the Desjarlais couple consulted their personal injury attorney together, Mrs. Desjarlais likely would have won the case for loss of consortium RI damages.

Questions About Loss of Consortium? Contact Tapalian Law Today

An accident does not only affect the victim, but everyone in the victim’s life. If your loved one has recently been involved in an accident caused by someone else, you are entitled to compensation for the pain you have to endure. Settling a loss of consortium claim on your own can be difficult because these cases can be highly difficult to prove or put a price on. To ensure that you receive fair compensation, you should contact Rhode Island Personal Injury Attorney David Tapalian today. Conveniently located at 350 S. Main St., Providence, RI, Tapalian Law is easily accessible to anyone in Rhode Island. Our dedicated team of legal experts at Tapalian Law will help create an individualized plan to strengthen your claim and guide you through the steps to receive the compensation you deserve. We can also consult your loved one as to the best legal proceeding, and can analyze a variety of different damages. As with all accidents in Rhode Island, there is a 3-year statute of limitations on filing a loss of consortium claim so it is imperative that you consult us immediately. Call Tapalian Law today at 401-552-5000 or contact us online to set up a free consultation.

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