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Atlanta Criminal Defense Lawyers > Blog > Personal Injury > How “Loss of Consortium” Claims Work in Georgia Personal Injury Cases

How “Loss of Consortium” Claims Work in Georgia Personal Injury Cases


When the plaintiff in a personal injury lawsuit is married, it is not uncommon for their spouse to join the case as a co-plaintiff seeking damages for “loss of consortium.” This is a type of non-economic damages recognized under Georgia law. Damages for loss of consortium are meant to compensate the spouse for the loss of the injured victim’s love, affection, services, and intimacy due to the defendant’s actions.

Loss of Consortium Can Be Tried Separately from the Original Case

Although the injured victim and their spouse usually pursue their claim for damages together, it is possible for a spouse to sue for loss of consortium even if the defendant prevailed in the victim’s case. The Georgia Court of Appeals recently explained how this can happen. In Priester v. Turner, the Court held that the dismissal of a husband’s personal injury claim did not bar the wife from pursuing a separate lawsuit for loss of consortium.

This case arose from a car accident where the husband sustained injuries. The husband sued the other driver–the defendant–as well as his own underinsured motorist carrier. The trial court ended up dismissing the husband’s lawsuit based on his failure to comply with certain procedural requirements.

Two years later, the wife filed a new lawsuit against the defendant and the insurance company, seeking damages for loss of consortium. The defense argued the wife’s claim was barred as a matter of law in Georgia. The trial court agreed and granted summary judgment to both defendants.

The Court of Appeals reversed, however, citing a 1982 decision from the Georgia Supreme Court, Stapleton v. Palmore, which dealt with a similar situation. In Stapleton, the defendant in a personal injury case won a jury verdict against the plaintiff. The defense then moved for summary judgment in a separate loss of consortium lawsuit filed by the plaintiff’s spouse. But the Supreme Court held that when the claims are brought and tried separately, the defense’s victory in the original lawsuit does not bar a subsequent loss of consortium claim.

That said, the Supreme Court went on to explain that the defense could have filed a motion in the original case to compel the spouse to add or “join” her loss of consortium claim. Had the defense done so, the spouse would have been bound by the jury’s verdict. But since the defense did not take that action, the spouse was free to proceed with their loss of consortium claim separately. The same rule applied in the Priester case, the Court of Appeals concluded.

Contact Hawkins Spizman Trial Lawyers Today

An accident can affect not just you but your spouse and the rest of your family as well. Our experienced Alpharetta personal injury lawyers can review your case and advise you of your options for seeking compensation. Contact Hawkins Spizman Trial Lawyers today to schedule a free consultation. We serve clients throughout Georgia including Atlanta, Dunwoody, Alpharetta, Cobb County, Fulton County, Gwinnett County, Johns Creek and Sandy Springs.




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