Will a Spouse be Compensated for her Time in Caring for her Injured Partner?
Jared: Hi. I’m Jared Richards. I’m one of the partners here at Clear Counsel Law Group. One of our readers has asked, can my spouse who cared for me while I was injured get compensated for her time and for the amount that she has to take off of work? The answer is, yes. In law whenever we tell the court we want to recover some sort of money we have legal theory, we give the legal theory name. This legal theory’s name is loss of consortium. Loss of consortium is a claim made by the spouse of an injured party.
Loss of consortium includes the pain and suffering of the spouse from changes in the marital relationship and also for the loss of probable support or anything that that spouse is out of pocket. If that spouse had to pay money, if that spouse had to stay home from work, if that spouse had to hire a maid or somebody to come in and help around the house, that spouse is entitled to be reimbursed for that. If the spouse has suffered from loss of marital relationship, and that means a lot of different things.
Injuries can do different things to different people. People think loss of marital relationship just means their relationship in the bedroom and it does include that, but it also means that the injured spouse is now irritable. The injured spouse is not able to cope with stress in the same way that he used to. All of those things can have a negative effect on their relationship. The law does protect the spouse that has to make adjustments in her life to deal with that.
It looks like Brian has a question.
Brian: Do folks have to be married to claim loss of consortium?
Jared: Generally yes. In the state of Nevada loss of consortium will apply to spouses. For example, there’s been case law on whether or not it applies to children because clearly children are affected as well. The Nevada Supreme Court has decided that it’s going to limit it to spouses. There is a legal theory that I suppose might work but I’ve never tested it. There’s a doctrine in California that says that people … It’s almost like a common law partner, often people who live together and hold themselves out as spouses can inherit from each other. It’s called the Mycroft Doctrine.
Maybe a judge would be sympathetic and allow the Mycroft Doctrine to bleed over to the loss of consortium but it’s all something that I wouldn’t necessarily rely on. Maybe a judge would be sympathetic. It would be nice if they would. But otherwise, no. I think that the safest route is that they’re married. That’s the sure fire way under the law. Anyway, if you have any more questions, give us a call. We’re happy to help any way we can. Thanks.