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Loss of Consortium and Society and Companionship Damages

Damages for loss of consortium and for of society and companionship in an auto accident, are similar to loss of services damages, but different.

Loss of services is a specific dollar loss sustained by one as the result of another person's death or injury. It is a sum of money that is measurable by the market value of the services if they were provided by someone else. The types of "services" considered for this loss typically include: maintenance and care of the home, child rearing, and assistance in the family business or on the farm. The purpose of a claim for loss of services is to compensate a person for services that were previously rendered by a family member who, through injury or death, can no longer render those services. Claims may be made by a spouse, child or parent; and in a wrongful death case, by a beneficiary. The burden to show loss of specific services is met by providing a list of actual tasks at home or on the job that are eliminated as a result of injury. Landrath v. Allstate Ins. Co., 259 Wis. 248 (1951).

Damages for loss of society and companionship and for loss of consortium are general damages involving the emotional or sentimental aspects of familial relationships. Sawyer v. Midelfort, 227 Wis. 2d 124 (1999).

The term loss of consortium covers loss of love, companionship, affection, society, sexual relations, and performance of marital services such as child care, homemaking chores, home maintenance, and the like. Peeples v. Sargent, 77 Wis. 2d 612 (1977).  Either spouse may recover damages for loss of consortium when the other sustains an auto accident injury.

In contrast, loss of society and companionship refers to relational injuries suffered by a parent resulting from injury of a minor child; a minor child resulting from injury of a parent; a surviving spouse, child, or parent resulting from the wrongful death of a spouse, parent, or child Wis. Stat. § 895.04(4); or a sibling resulting from the wrongful death of a sibling if the surviving sibling was a minor at the time of the death Wis. Stat. § 895.04(4). The meaning of society and companionship is thus more general than the meaning of consortium. Society and companionship claims are "predicated upon the emotional ties ... share[d] with the injured party." Estate of Wells v. Mount Sinai Med. Ctr., 183 Wis. 2d 667 (1994).

In Milwaukee, Wisconsin the attorneys at McCormick Law Office include claims for loss of consortium and society and companionship in automobile accident cases.  It is factored into all demands and settlements but not generally separated.

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