If you're injured by the negligence of another the law recognizes your right to recover.
What if you are married, and your injury affects the nature and quality of your relationship with your spouse?
As for your medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering, an experienced Baltimore personal injury lawyer can advise you when, and if damages for this type of injury are recoverable. But that is not the extent of potential recovery.
The law recognizes the ways an accident can damage a marriage.
Loss of Consortium "...means the loss of society, affection, assistance and conjugal fellowship. It includes the loss or impairment of sexual relations." Deems v. Western Maryland Ry. Co., 231 A.2d 514, 247 Md. 95 (Md., 1967).
A lot of people will tell you this claim only concerns the lost or diminished ability to have sex.
That's part of it, to be sure, but there are more components to the loss as well. "[T]he two aspects of a claim for loss of consortium have been described as the economic "loss of services that ... [have been performed] though they are of a type that can be rendered by hired help," in contrast to the noneconomic "loss of household and other services that are of such a character that they cannot be rendered by hired help and on which, by reason of their character, no market value can be placed." [citations omitted] The noneconomic component of a claim for loss of consortium has also been described as "intangible elements [that] are generally described in terms of 'affection, society, companionship and sexual relations.' " [citations omitted]. Connors v. Oaks, 642 A.2d 245, 100 Md.App. 525 (Md. App., 1993).
One spouse cannot bring the claim separately. "When either husband or wife claims loss of consortium by reason of physical injuries sustained by the other as the result of the alleged negligence of the defendant, that claim can only be asserted in a joint action for injury to the marital relationship. That action is to be tried at the same time as the individual action of the physically injured spouse." Deems.
Consortium claims are textured and nuanced. Each is as different as one marriage is to another. It is important to consult with a seasoned personal injury attorney early in the process, to begin laying a foundation for the consortium claim.
-This Article was updated by Eric Kirk on 2/19/19.