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22.7 Damages – Loss of Consortium

Loss of Consortium

When a married person is injured and that injury causes the person’s spouse to suffer the loss of the company, cooperation, affection, and aid that were previously a feature of their married life, the spouse is entitled to recover damages in [his/her] own right for this loss.  This claim is known as “loss of consortium.”

To recover for loss of consortium, [spouse’s name] need not prove a total loss.  It is enough that partial loss or impairment of services, companionship, and comfort is shown.  Any lessening of these aspects of a normal marital relationship due to the injury of a healthy [wife/husband] is considered an element of damages under the law.

There is no yardstick or formula for assessing damages for loss of consortium, just as there is none for pain and suffering.  The amount of damages to be awarded is what you decide is fair and reasonable, under all the circumstances, as disclosed by the evidence.

Source:

18 Del. C. ‘ 6853 (personal injury requires expert testimony except in limited number of circumstances); Sostre v. Swift, Del. Supr., 603 A.2d 809, 813 (1992); Jones v. Elliot, Del. Supr., 551 A.2d 62, 63-65 (1988); Folk v. York-Shipley, Inc., Del. Supr., 239 A.2d 236, 238-39 (1968)(applying Pennsylvania law); Senta v. Leblang, Del. Supr., 185 A.2d 759, 762 (1962).  Gill v. Celotex Corp., Del. Super., 565 A.2d 21, 23-24 (1989); Mergenthaler v. Asbestos Corp. of America, Del. Super., 534 A.2d 272, 280-81 (1987); Baker v. Streets, Del. Super., C.A. No. 84C-MR-18, Taylor, J. (July 25, 1985); Lacy v. G.D. Searle & Co., Del. Super., 484 A.2d 527, 532-33 (1984); Biddle v. Griffin, Del. Super., 277 A.2d 691, 692-93 (1970).

Credit: Delaware Superior Court