Metro Detroit Personal Injury Lawyer
Did you know that under Michigan law, the spouse of an injured person may have an independent claim for damages equal to the value of the services, society and companionship, and sexual relationship the spouse has been deprived of? This is called loss of consortium. A spouse may bring a claim for loss of consortium even if the couple was not married at the time of the injury, as long as neither spouse knew, or could have known about the claim.
Loss of consortium is a type of “derivative damage”, because it refers to damages suffered by others (such as a spouse) as a result of another’s personal injury. Originally, Michigan did not recognize loss of consortium as a cause of action. However, the 1960 case Montgomery v Stephan established the modern law on loss of consortium claims. Montgomery also rejected U.S. precedent that limited the recovery for loss of consortium claims only to husbands. Since Montgomery, either Michigan spouse may recover for loss of consortium.
A loss of consortium claim is not available for every spouse of an injured person. For instance, the motor vehicle exception does not authorize a claim for loss of consortium against a governmental agency. However, a loss of consortium claim could be brought against an individual governmental employee acting with gross negligence.