Loss of Consortium Attorney for Dallas Accident Injuries

Doug Goyen, AttorneyCar accident litigation can be complicated, making it difficult for victims to obtain fair compensation without the assistance of an experienced and reputable Dallas auto accident attorney. Insurance companies that insure negligent drivers frequently take advantage of victims who are not represented by experienced car accident trial attorneys. 

Contact the Law Office of Doug Goyen at (972) 599 4100 to discuss your damages in your case. Talk to a Dallas injury lawyer to see what can be done regarding your case. 

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LOSS OF CONSORTIUM (NON-DEATH SITUATIONS)

Personal injury cases may result in the loss of a relationship with a spouse, parent, or other family member. In some (but not all) cases, Texas law allows for recovery for loss of consortium. To determine whether you have a claim for loss of consortium, you should speak with a Dallas injury lawyer about your situation.

Loss of Consortium (non-death situations): is the loss of society and companionship in interfamilial relationships such as husband and wife, as well as the loss of parents for children. The claim for loss of consortium is made by the non-injured spouse (or family member).

SPOUSAL CONSORTIUM:  Affection, solace, comfort, companionship, society, assistance, sexual relations, emotional support, love, and felicity are all elements of damages for a spouse’s loss of consortium claim. This is a completely separate case from the claim of the injured spouse. Whittlesey v. Miller, 572 S.W.2d 665 (Tex 1978). No expert testimony was required to determine the value of loss, love, affection, companionship, and society by a jury. Seale v. Winn Exploration Co., 732 S.W.2d 667 (Tex.App.—Corpus Christi 1987, writ denied).

INSURANCE ISSUES:

  1. Workers Comp: Workers Comp: Texas courts have held that, even though Loss of Consortium is a separate claim from the injured spouse, the employer is immune from suit in workers comp situations because the claim is a derivative of the spouse’s injury. Reed Tool Co. v. Copelin, 610 S.W.2d 736 (Tex. 1980).
  2. Auto Insurance Policy: A claim for loss of consortium is not considered a “bodily injury” under the terms of an automobile insurance policy. McGovern v. Williams, 741 S.W.2d 373 (Tex. 1987).

PARENTAL CONSORTIUM (loss of a parent to a child with serious injury/no death): Texas courts have determined that an injury to the familial relationship is compensable. If a parent’s injury is “serious, permanent, and disabling,” a child (both minor and adult) may be able to compensate for their loss. Because the child’s claim is a derivative of the parent’s claim, negligence on the part of the parent reduces the amount of recovery by the percentage of negligence on the part of the parent. In this situation, mental anguish is NOT a recoverable factor for the child. Loss of parental love, affection, protection, emotional support, services, companionship, care, and society are all examples of damages. The severity of the parent’s injury and its impact on the parent-child relationship, the child’s age, the nature of the child’s relationship with the parent, the child’s emotional and physical characteristics, and the availability of other consortium-giving relationships for that child are all factors considered. Reagan v Vaughn, 804 S.W.2d 463, 467 (Tex. 1990).

Siblings & Stepparent/Child Relationships: There is no loss of consortium claim in these cases, so if a brother suffers a serious injury, his brother or sister has no claim for loss of consortium as a result of their brother’s injury. Furthermore, in Texas, a step-parent/child relationship is not recognized for loss of consortium claims. The court emphasized that there is typically no legal duty in a step-parent/child relationship. Ford Motor Co. v. Miles, 967 S.W.2d 377 (Tex. 1998). It appears that if a stepparent adopted their stepchild as their own, the outcome would be different and a loss of consortium claim would be permitted.

FILIAL CONSORTIUM (parent loss of a child with serious injury/no death): The Texas Supreme Court ruled in 2003 that a parent cannot recover for their child’s loss of consortium if the child survives. So, even if a parent is in a coma, has severe brain damage, or has been severely altered by paralysis or another serious injury, our Texas Supreme Court has ruled that there is no loss of consortium claim for a parent in Texas. Roberts v. Williamson, 111 S.W.3d 113, 120 (Tex. 2003). Prior to 2003, the Texas Supreme Court indicated that a claim for the parent’s loss of companionship, society, affection, and love had merit (loss of consortium). Sanchez v. Schindler, 651 S.W.2d 249 (Tex. 1983)(Although the case involved the death of a child, the decision stated that the court approved loss of consortium cases in non-death situations as well). Hall v. Birchfield, 718 S.W.2d 313 (Tex.App.—Texarkana 1986), rev’d on other grounds, 747 S.W.2d 361 (Tex. 1987)(non-death injury to a child).

In personal injury cases, the Texas Supreme Court has become an activist court. They have overturned long-standing law and principle in a variety of personal injury areas in order to deny injured people (or families of those killed) a day in court and prevent them from recovering from those who caused the injury or death.

Contact Dallas car wreck injury lawyer Doug Goyen to discuss your injury case and determine the scope of your claim. The Law Office of Doug Goyen is a Dallas injury lawyer who has extensive experience in all types of damages that you may be able to recover. To discuss your case, please contact us at (972) 599 4100.

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