Motorcycle accidents often result in serious injuries that require significant medical treatment. When a married motorcycle driver is hurt in an accident, it not only affects the injured motorcyclist, it can also affect their spouse. Under Pennsylvania tort law, the spouse of an injured motorcycle rider has a separate right to recover monetary compensation by filing a loss of consortium claim against the person responsible for the accident. The experienced motorcycle accident lawyers at Thomas, Conrad & Conrad Law Offices can help you determine whether you have a claim.
Loss Of Consortium Claims
When your spouse’s injury keeps them from participating in life the same way they did before the accident, it’s presumed that changes in the relationship occur. A loss of consortium claim is based on changes in the marriage, including loss of the injured spouse’s companionship, comfort, emotional support and intimacy. The injury can also create a change in family dynamics and/or the division of labor, which places a burden on the uninjured spouse.
Loss of consortium claims aren’t reserved for catastrophic cases but can be made for any accident that causes the uninjured spouse to suffer. However, it can be difficult to prove loss of consortium, which requires you to demonstrate that the accident caused certain aspects of your relationship with your spouse to change. To do this, you’ll be required to talk about your relationship with your spouse before the accident and how it’s changed since your spouse was injured. Numerous factors are evaluated, which could include the strength of your marriage and whether you and your spouse were intimate before the accident.
Limits On Loss Of Consortium Claims
Under Pennsylvania law, loss of consortium isn’t considered a primary claim. It’s a derivative claim and as such, it can’t exist without the original injury upon your spouse and their personal injury claim. Because it’s a derivative claim, Pennsylvania law treats the claim differently for insurance settlement purposes, so it’s important you understand how loss of consortium affects personal injury lawsuits.
First, your loss of consortium claim is subject to the same insurance policy limits your injured spouse will make a claim on for their case. However, if your spouse settles with the insurance company, ensure the settlement agreement declares whether you’re also settling your loss of consortium claim. If you’re not settling, and this is reflected in the settlement, you can still bring your claim to trial for a separate, recoverable claim. There’s a two-year statute of limitations for loss of consortium claims in Pennsylvania, so file your claim before this time expires or your case will be dismissed.
Hire Top Motorcycle Accident Attorneys
There are very specific rules governing loss of consortium claims, but we can help, even with complex situations. We help reduce the strain of getting your life back on track after your spouse suffers an injury from a motorcycle accident. Contact Thomas, Conrad & Conrad Law Offices at 610-867-2900 for a free consultation today.