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What is loss of consortium?

Should one of your close relatives die in Illinois as the result of a motor vehicle accident, you can sue the person responsible for your loved one’s untimely and wrongful death. One of the things you can sue for are damages to compensate you for loss of consortium.

The phrase “loss of consortium” originally referred to the loss of marital relations a surviving spouse suffered when his or her spouse died. Per FindLaw, however, this term now includes all kinds of intangible losses you may suffer due to your loved one’s death. However, in order to file the suit and collect the damages, you relationship with the deceased usually must have been one of the following:

  • Spouse
  • Child
  • Parent
  • Sibling

Proving loss of consortium

Recognizing that loss of consortium constitutes one of your noneconomic damages; i.e., one on which neither you nor the jury can place a precise dollar amount, you will need to be prepared to present clear and convincing evidence of the following at trial should you be the deceased’s surviving spouse:

  • Your and your spouse’s respective ages at the time (s)he died, as well as your respective life expectancies
  • How much love and stability you enjoyed in your marriage
  • How you and your spouse shared the home
  • How much companionship (s)he gave you
  • How much parenting help (s)he gave you
  • How much household help (s)he gave you

Should you be the deceased’s child, parent or sibling rather than his or her spouse, you will need to present evidence as to the amount of affection, guidance, nurturing, etc. (s)he provided to you.

This is general educational information and not intended to provide legal advice.

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