Loss of Consortium in Maryland

The loss of consortium, under Maryland law and elsewhere, means the loss of society, affection, assistance and conjugal fellowship. It includes the loss or impairment of sexual relations. See Deems v. Western Maryland Ry., 247 Md. 95, 100 (1967). A loss of consortium claim does not involve economic loss. The monetary value of a loss of consortium claim is determined by the jury.

The Law on Loss of Consortiumloss of consortium

A loss of consortium claim may arise when a seriously injured spouse cannot fully participate in the marriage due to the injury. In Maryland, these claims are brought together in the same lawsuit. Unlike some other jurisdictions, termination of the injury claim also terminates the loss of consortium claim in Maryland. (Insurance adjusters who handle personal injury cases in a number of jurisdictions are often unaware of the Maryland law on this point and demand that the injured victim's spouse agrees to the settlement.) Because a consortium claim is derivative of the injured spouse's claim, a single cap for non-economic damages applies to the whole action. In other words, you cannot backdoor the cap with a loss of consortium claims.

If you are a bringing a loss of consortium claim before a jury in Maryland or elsewhere, you should proceed with some care. Many jurors ascribe to the notion that a spouse signs on "for better or worse, in sickness and in health." Weak or vague loss of consortium claims can weaken the credibility of the injured spouse, because the non-injured spouse is often the most effective witness on the damages to the injured spouse. While there is certainly no harm in bring a loss of consortium claim in your lawsuit, you want to reevaluate the claim before you bring it before a jury.

Solatium Damage

A related concept is solatium damages, which are awarded in wrongful death cases in Maryland for the death of a spouse; these may include damages for mental anguish, emotional pain and suffering, loss of society, companionship, comfort, protection, marital care, parental care, filial care, attention, advice, counsel, training, guidance, or education where applicable. Md. Code Ann., Cts. & Jud. Proc. Section 3-904(d).

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