(219)736-9700 info@davidholublaw.com

Loss of Companionship Society Love and Affection

I’m Katelyn Holub, an attorney focusing on personal injury law in northwest Indiana.

Welcome to Personal Injury Primer, where we break down the law into simple terms, provide legal tips, and discuss personal injury law topics.

Today’s question comes from a caller who explained that her husband’s injury, placing him in a wheelchair for life, has been difficult for her to deal with, though she is uninjured. She wanted advice on whether she could recoup her losses for the time she has taken off work to care for her husband, and wondered how a jury might calculate her loss.

When one’s spouse is injured or killed, the uninjured spouse, in most circumstances, is entitled to be compensated for their “economic loss.” This includes losses measurable by objective financial criteria, such as loss of support and medical and funeral expenses.

Loss of services, such as the inability to do household chores, is an example of a tangible loss subject to compensation.

But a spouse may also recover “noneconomic loss.” This loss includes the impact on companionship and society, love and affection, consortium, or the like, including grief or mental anguish.

How does a jury determine such “noneconomic loss?”

Of course, the uninjured spouse certainly can testify to their losses. They can explain what their lives together were like before an injury, and they can explain how their lives have now changed.

It may also be helpful to have an expert testify.

Expert testimony can help establish the extent and duration of a spouse’s disability in cases involving claims for losses flowing from a spouse’s injury.

For example, the testimony of a family physician and an orthopedic surgeon may be needed to show that a husband suffered a permanent partial disability due to injuries sustained in a collision.

Expert testimony concerning injuries or problems predating the injury may also be pertinent to assessing the damages recoverable for a spouse’s losses due to their mate’s injury.

When the value of a loss of companionship, society, love, and affection needs to be determined, testimony concerning marital problems and emotional difficulties arising from the injured party’s injuries will be necessary.

Such testimony will be the best evidence of such problems. In such a case, a defendant may inquire how the marriage was before the injury, and bring out evidence that the parties had previously separated or contemplated divorce.

So, as the caller surmised, her losses and those of her injured husband are compensable.

I hope you found this information helpful. If you are a victim of someone’s carelessness, substandard medical care, a product defect, work injury, or another personal injury, please call (219) 736-9700 with your questions. You can also learn more about us by visiting our website at DavidHolubLaw.com – while there, make sure you request a copy of our book “Fighting for Truth.”