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Can You Recover Damages for Loss of Companionship?

By Butler Prather LLP on October 31, 2022

In the event an individual sustains a catastrophic injury or loses their life due to the negligent actions of another person or entity, there is a possibility that family members can recover compensation for loss of companionship. We understand that this may be confusing, but it is important to define what companionship means in this circumstance, as well as how much compensation individuals may be able to receive.

What is Loss of Companionship?

If you lose somebody due to the careless or negligent actions of someone else, this is an incredibly devastating experience. This devastation will be compounded further by the loss of both emotional and physical intimacy that a person may have experienced with their loved one when they were alive.

Loss of companionship and consortium damages are often sought by spouses and partners of a deceased individual (or an individual who is badly disabled and unable to function the way they were previously able to).

Loss of consortium and companionship damages are not only about the loss of physical affection or sexual activities. This is a part of the claim, but only one part. The real value of the claim comes in when examining everything that a spouse or partner has lost that they used to be able to do with their loved one before the accident occurred. This includes:

  • The decrease in the ability to communicate with a loved one
  • Inability to participate in social activities in the same way
  • One spouse now having to do all of the household chores and childcare by themselves

This loss of a partner’s intimacy in the relationship can have a significant impact on a survivor’s mental health. These types of losses are recognized by the court, and survivors, particularly a spouse or partner, are allowed to file a claim for loss of companionship and consortium. These types of losses typically fall under the non-economic damages umbrella and are sometimes referred to as a part of pain and suffering damages.

In some states around the country, loss of consortium and companionship damages are available to various members of the family, but not in Georgia. This type of claim can only be made by an official spouse. This means that the two parties must have been married before the incident occurred. A loss of companionship damages are not available to non-married significant others, even if they were living together.

Working With an Attorney

If you have lost a loved one or if your loved one has been catastrophically injured in Georgia, we encourage you to reach out to a skilled attorney as soon as possible. Properly calculating total losses can be challenging, specifically when it comes to understanding how much a loss of companionship claim should be. A skilled lawyer will enlist assistance from trusted economic and mental health experts to adequately express to insurance carriers or a wrongful death/personal injury jury the extent of these losses.

Presenting these losses to a jury or expressing them in a statement can be challenging. It can be uncomfortable for a spouse to discuss how their life has changed after losing their loved one. However, this type of testimony may be necessary to fully express to a jury why they should award a certain dollar amount for a loss of companionship or consortium damages.

Posted in: Wrongful Death

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