In today’s video, Attorney Ben Schwartz answers a question from John in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, “I was injured in a car accident, does my spouse have the right to make a claim?”
Hi, I’m Attorney Ben Schwartz,
Today we are going to answer a question from John in Rehoboth Delaware. John wrote-in and he said, “I was injured in a car accident & it was not my fault. I would like to make a claim, but what I really want to know is, does my spouse have the right to make a claim?” This is a really good question: The answer is, it is called a loss of consortium claim. Loss of consortium is a type of personal injury claim where the spouse, who has been affected within the marital relationship, has a right to receive compensation for the effects of the marital relationship.
I will give you an example; let’s say that if you are injured in an accident, you are rear-ended by a drunk driver while you are stopping at a red light. You sustain shoulder injuries in this accident and typically you would be mowing the grass and doing things around the house, but now you cannot because your arm is in a sling. Your spouse is going to go do the grass, do the hedges, do the things around the house that you normally would have done. Now your spouse has a right to sue the at-fault driver who rear-ended you and the right to receive compensation for the ways that this accident and your injuries have affected the spouse in the marital relationship.
In order to make a loss of consortium claim, now John I am assuming you are from Rehoboth Delaware. I am assuming that the accident was also in Delaware, so the Delaware law applies to everything here to make this claim. Your spouse would have to have been your legally married spouse as of the day of the accident. You have to be able to establish through some confident evidence that there has been an effect on the marital relationship with your spouse picking up the slack. We would do that through her testimony that she has had to pick up the slack.
As trial lawyers, we are looking for documentary evidence. For example, you typically mow the grass and do the hedges. Is your spouse going to be able to produce some credit card receipts, where they went to the True Value hardware and got supplies for lawn care? Are your neighbors going to be able to come in and testify that the spouse has had to pick up the slack, that typically for the last 10 years, you are the only one out there doing the yard work, but now your spouse is doing the yard work?
These are the things we want to look at to see if we can get documentation. But, the direct answer to your question is, Yes there is a right to receive compensation under a Delaware loss of consortium claim. Thanks for asking the question, it is a very good question. I’m Attorney Ben Schwartz. If you have questions for me about personal injury cases, car accidents, dog bite cases, or slip and fall cases, send me an e-mail below and maybe we can answer them here, in video format, or on our blog. Thanks for watching!