Understanding Loss Of Consortium In Georgia 

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April 26, 2024

Georgia’s Guide to Loss of Consortium: Definitions, Examples & Settlements 

At Georgia Trial Attorneys, we excel in maximizing compensation for loss of consortium and other damages. This claim arises from negative impacts on a marital relationship because of a spouse’s injury or death. Such impacts can include lost companionship, affection, comfort, and marital support. They may also encompass lost spousal companionship, intimate relations, and other marital services over time.

If you or a loved one has suffered personal injuries, an experienced injury attorney can guide you. We help you understand your rights and compensation options, including consortium claims.

This article covers key legal concepts related to consortium claims in Georgia. We discuss relevant state laws like OCGA 9-3-33, pivotal court decisions, and examples of settlements and jury awards.

How Georgia Law Defines Loss of Consortium

Georgia Code Section 9-3-33, also known as OCGA 9-3-33, establishes a four-year statute of limitations. This applies to loss of consortium claims arising from personal injuries. This means a lawsuit seeking damages for loss of consortium must be filed within four years of the date the action accrues, which is typically when the injury occurred, except for injuries to the reputation which shall be brought within one year.

Traditionally, Georgia courts have limited consortium claims to spouses and required the marital relationship to be intact both at the time of the injury and when the claim is filed. Factors like the length of the marriage may be considered in determining the value of a loss of consortium claim. In a key decision, the Georgia Supreme Court held that allowing ex-spouses to bring consortium claims “would pose enormous practical problems in limiting the scope and extent of loss of consortium actions involving loss of consortium.” (Kemp v. Kemp)

However, more recent court rulings have allowed loss of consortium claims in certain situations involving other close family relationships. For example, the Georgia Court of Appeals permitted a child to pursue a consortium claim for the death of his mother, noting the “unique relationship” shared by a parent and child. (Ferrell v. Mikula) Still, spouses remain the primary claimants in most consortium cases.

Proving Loss of Consortium Damages

To win a loss of consortium claim, the plaintiff must show the loss of consortium elements. They must prove that the injured spouse’s condition deprives them of companionship, affection, comfort, marital support, and intimate relations previously enjoyed over time. Some factors courts consider include:

  • The stability and quality of the relationship prior to the injury
  • The life expectancy of both partners
  • The extent and permanence of the injured person’s physical and mental impairments
  • Evidence of the couple’s inability to engage in marital activities, services and intimacy

Expert testimony from medical and mental health professionals is often used to establish the effects of an injury or death on the relationship. The uninjured spouse’s own testimony about the couple’s bond and the difficulties they’ve faced since the incident occurred also plays a key role.

Examples of Georgia Loss of Consortium Settlements & Verdicts

You may be wondering, “What is loss of consortium worth? How much is loss of consortium compensation in real cases?” Below are some examples of loss of consortium settlement amounts and jury awards in Georgia personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits, including from car accidents and other incidents involving injuries to the person. Of course, each case is unique, and past results don’t guarantee a particular financial outcome. However, these loss of consortium examples illustrate the potential value of consortium claims.

$17M Verdict: A Georgia jury awarded $17 million to the wife of a man who became quadriplegic in a truck accident, with a substantial portion allocated for loss of consortium over a period of time.

$2.8M Settlement: The family of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins is pursuing a loss of consortium claim against Alec Baldwin and the producers of the film “Rust” over her tragic on-set death. A judge recently cleared the way for that aspect of the case to move forward.

$1.5M Settlement: The wife of a Georgia man who suffered permanent brain damage in a motorcycle crash received $1.5 million to settle her loss of consortium claim against the at-fault driver.

Get Help With Your Loss of Consortium Claim in Georgia

If your spouse or close family member has been catastrophically injured, you may be entitled to significant compensation. This applies if the injury resulted from someone else’s negligence, such as in a serious car accident.

An experienced personal injury and car accident attorney can help you understand your rights. They can also build a strong case to maximize your loss of consortium settlement or award.

These situations can also effect cases involving alimony payment and child support adjustments. The action accrues except for injuries where specific timing alters the filing period.

Whether your case involves loss of support or financial adjustments, we can assist. Our dedicated team is ready to help you navigate these legal waters effectively.

At Georgia Trial Attorneys, we have a proven track record. We succeed in handling complex loss of consortium claims and cases involving injuries to the person. We’re here to provide the skilled representation and compassionate support you need during this difficult time seeking compensation. Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss your case and learn what your loss of consortium claim may be worth.

Don’t try to handle this alone. Give us a call, tell us your story, and let’s figure out how we can help you. It’s that easy. Pick up the phone and CALL 833-4TheWin NOW.  

Let’s get you on the path to getting your life and finances sorted. 

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