What is a Loss of Consortium Claim in South Carolina?
Life-changing accidents usually affect not only the victim but also their spouses, close friends, and loved ones. Victims need help doing some of the things that they could do themselves before the accident, and this responsibility usually falls on their spouses and loved ones. The victims’ injuries may also limit their financial, physical, and emotional ability to provide for their loved ones.
Victims’ spouses deserve compensation for the difficulties they experience as a result of their loved ones’ accidents, and they can get it by filing a loss of consortium claim. Here is a brief guide on how loss of consortium claims work in South Carolina.
Defining Loss of Consortium in South Carolina
Loss of consortium is a claim for damages made by a victim’s spouse or close relatives for certain negative effects they experience as a result of the victim’s accident. These damages are usually based on the loss of certain benefits and services that the victim provided before the accident but cannot provide now.
The damages included in a loss of consortium claim in South Carolina usually include the following:
- Loss of financial support
- Loss of comfort and emotional support
- Loss of counsel
- Loss of care
- Loss of household services
Overall, loss of consortium damages are categorized into three types:
- Damages for loss of services
- Damages for loss of support
- Damages for loss of quality in the marital relationship
Examples of loss of consortium claims vary depending on the type of accident and severity of injuries sustained. For example, an accident that results in the victim’s loss of speech may limit their ability to counsel and comfort their spouses through challenging issues. An accident that causes paralysis can also limit the victim’s ability to provide household services such as mowing the lawn or cleaning the gutters.
However, it is worth noting that some of the damages included in a loss of consortium claim may overlap with damages claimed in a personal injury lawsuit. Such damages are excluded from the claim.
How to Calculate Loss of Consortium Damages
Loss of consortium damages are not economical or financial, making them difficult to calculate and value. Section 15, chapter 32 of the South Carolina Code of Law limits damages to $500,000 or at least three times the value of compensatory damages offered to each claimant, whichever is higher.
However, the law also removes the cap on the amount you can get for loss of consortium damages if your claim satisfies the following requirements:
- The defendant intended to harm the victim at the time of the accident.
- The defendant has been convicted of a felony related to the accident.
- The victim has complained about the defendant’s course of conduct, which is to blame for the accident.
- The defendant caused the accident while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, and other prohibited substances.
A judge or jury values loss of consortium damages. However, you can consult a legal professional to accurately estimate your damages’ value.
How to File a Loss of Consortium Claim in South Carolina
Traditionally, only the victim’s spouse could make a loss of consortium claim in South Carolina. However, the victim’s unmarried partner and close relatives can also make a loss of consortium claim. Immediate relatives include the victim’s children and parents.
The non-economic nature of loss of consortium damages makes these cases more complex than ordinary personal injury claims. It is advisable to consult a lawyer and solicit their services before making a loss of consortium claim. A skilled and experienced lawyer will help you navigate the judicial system. They will also gather as much evidence as possible to develop a strong case that maximizes the value of your damages.
It is also worth noting that the claim may expose some of your private affairs. For example, you can claim compensation for your partner’s loss of sexual function, but you would have to prove this to the judge and jury. The defendant’s lawyer will challenge all your claims, so it is advisable to keep an open mind and be willing to undergo rigorous cross-examination.
If You’ve Been Impacted By a Loved One’s Personal Injury, Let Us Help
Your loved one’s injuries can impact you financially, mentally, and emotionally. Fortunately, you can get compensation for your damages by filing a loss of consortium claim. You will need a good lawyer to argue your case, and you don’t need to look further than the law firm of Elrod Pope Accident & Injury Attorneys.
Our attorneys are talented, experienced, and passionate about helping our clients get justice and compensation for their damages. Get in touch to learn more about our services and how we can help.