Was your loved one killed by the negligence of another party? If so, you may have a right to seek compensation from those liable. This is often done through a claim for what is known as loss of consortium. What is the loss of consortium? Who may sue over it? And what should you know before you start a case? Here are some answers to these important questions. 

What Is the Loss of Consortium?

Loss of consortium is the legal term for the loss of a close, personal relationship that is irreplaceable. If your spouse was killed by a drunk driver, you have suffered a type of personal injury just as your late spouse did. That injury is the irreparable harm created by losing the intimacy, companionship, comfort, joy, and sexual relationship they provided. 

Who May Sue for Loss of Consortium?

Each state determines which type of individuals have standing to sue for loss of consortium. Legal spouses are almost always allowed to sue for the loss of their partner. In many states, registered domestic partners and those who have legal status as a partner may also be able to sue. A fiancé or unmarried partner may or may not qualify.

Of course, a romantic partner isn't the only one who lost their relationship with their loved one. However, not all states allow other family members to claim loss of consortium — reserving it for only the closest of intimate relationships. In states that do expand the definition, only parents and children may have standing. You may also need to prove the closeness or dependency of your relationship. 

Should You Always Pursue a Claim?

If you can sue for loss of consortium, should you? This is a question only you can answer. Like all personal injury trials, this can be a long, complicated, and costly process. Those already suffering from the death of a loved one may not be up for the stress and rehashing needed during a trial. 

In addition, the legal claim of loss of consortium is based on personal relationships. So those relationships will be made part of the trial. If you and your late spouse had a rough period, ever fought in public, or had been apart for some legitimate reason, the opposing attorneys will likely try to paint these as reasons why your relationship wasn't as close as you claim. It's important to be prepared for this challenge. 

Where Can You Learn More?

Is a loss of consortium case right for you and your family? Find out by learning more about them. Meet with a personal injury attorney in your state today to get more answers to your questions.