In Iowa, the law recognizes that immediate family members also suffer losses when a loved one is injured or dies due to the negligence of another. The legal term for the relationship between immediate family members is called “consortium.”
When there is a change or damage to these relationships due to an injury or death, the immediate family can recover from the “loss of consortium” they suffer.
Types of Consortium in an Iowa Personal Injury Case
There are several types of loss of consortium. Here is how Iowa law defines the various types of consortium:
- “Spousal consortium” is the fellowship of a husband and wife and the right of each to the benefits of company, cooperation, affection, the aid of the other in every marital relationship, general usefulness, industry, and attention within the home and family.
It does not include loss of financial support from the injured spouse, nor mental anguish caused by a spouse’s death.
- “Parental consortium” is the relationship between parent and child and the right of the child to the benefits of companionship, comfort, guidance, affection, and aid of the parent in every parental relationship, general usefulness, industry, and attention within the family.
It does not include the loss of financial support from the injured parent, nor the mental anguish caused by a parent’s death.
- “Injury or Death of a Child.” When a child is injured or dies, the parent can seek damages for loss of consortium. Like “spousal” and “parental” consortium, this item of damages seeks to compensate parents for the loss of their relationship with their child; however, the law requires the amount assessed for loss of consortium be reduced by the amount of “board and maintenance” a parent would spend on the child to the age of 18.
What ‘Loss of Consortium’ Does Not Cover
The word “consortium” merely refers to the physical and emotional relationship between immediate family members. There are things that would seem to fit under this category that don’t.
For example, consortium does not include the mental anguish or grief of the non-injured family member. It also does not include the financial support that a spouse or parent gives to his or her family members. There is a separate item of damage, called “Loss of Support,” which seeks losses for the financial contributions a parent or spouse provided to a family.
When an injury or wrongful death claim is brought in Iowa, it is important to tell the attorney of any other immediate family members that may have a claim for loss of consortium.
Most times, the attorney handling the underlying injury claim can also represent the parties bringing consortium claims. Any person who seeks consortium will be a named party in the lawsuit. That party will answer written questions and may be required to give a deposition.
To better understand whether you should bring a claim for loss of consortium claim, you should talk to an experienced Iowa injury attorney. To get your free, no-obligation case evaluation, call RSH Legal today at 1-800-433-0283.