Injured parties in New Mexico and Arizona can seek compensation for their non-economic and economic damages by filing a personal injury claim. The party who caused their injury can be held financially responsible for their lost wages, pain, medical bills, and other damages.
However, family members of injured parties might have a separate claim against the party who caused their loved one’s injuries. These claims are called loss of consortium claims.
What Are Loss of Consortium Claims in New Mexico and Arizona?
When a person is injured, their injuries might prevent them from performing specific tasks. They might be unable to take care of the home and children. An injured party might also require substantial care because they are unable to take care of their personal needs.
An accident or injury can impact the entire family instead of just the injured party. The loss of the benefits of the family relationship is referred to as a loss of consortium.
In Arizona, spouses, children, and parents may seek compensation for loss of consortium claims. The claim is a derivative action in Arizona. The success of the loss of consortium claim depends on the outcome of the personal injury claim.
In New Mexico, loss of consortium claims are typically filed by a spouse or child and are also derivate claims. In the past, New Mexico has allowed other family members to file claims when there is a sufficiently close relationship and mutual dependence.
How Do You Calculate the Value of a Loss of Consortium Claim in New Mexico and Arizona?
A loss of consortium is intangible. It refers to the loss of the benefits of a relationship with the injured party. Therefore, putting a price on this loss can be challenging.
We must look at the factors relevant to the case to determine the value of the loss of consortium claim. For example, is the person totally and permanently disabled or paralyzed because of their injuries? If so, that might significantly impact the relationship with family members more than someone with a partial impairment.
Another example might be someone who sustains a traumatic brain injury that results in permanent cognitive impairments. The person might not be able to remember family members or events. If so, the relationship between the injured party and their family members will never be the same.
An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you gather evidence and build a strong case demonstrating the extent of the losses suffered because of a family member’s injury. Medical records, expert testimony, and testimony from the injured party, family members, and friends can be used as evidence in a loss of consortium claim.
Does Contributory Fault Apply to Loss of Consortium Claims?
Because loss of consortium claims are derivative actions, they are also subject to defenses used in the personal injury case, including allegations of contributory fault.
Both Arizona and New Mexico have pure comparative negligence laws. You could be 99% at fault for causing your injury and still receive compensation for some of your damages. However, your damages are reduced by your level of fault for causing your injury.
For instance, support a jury awards you $750,000 for damages sustained in a car accident. However, the jurors determined you were 10% to blame for causing the car crash. The court can reduce your compensation by 10% or $75,000.
If the defense proves their allegations of contributory fault, a family member’s compensation for loss of consortium can also be reduced by the same percentage. Therefore, if the jury awarded your spouse $150,000 for loss of consortium, the court could reduce it by 10% or $15,000.
What Are the Deadlines for Filing Loss of Consortium Claims?
Loss of consortium claims have the same deadline as the personal injury cases they are related to in both New Mexico and Arizona. A statute of limitations is a deadline for filing a lawsuit. The court can dismiss your case if you do not file the lawsuit before the deadline in the statute of limitations.
In Arizona, the statute of limitations is two years from the injury date for most personal injury cases. However, if your claim is against a government entity, you have just 180 days after the injury occurs to file a notice of claim to preserve your right to file a lawsuit. The lawsuit must be filed within one year.
In New Mexico, the statute of limitations is three years from the injury date for most personal injury cases. Claims filed against the government have a 90-day deadline for the notice of claim to preserve the right to file a lawsuit. The lawsuit then must be filed within two years.
There are exceptions to the statutes of limitations that could change the deadline. It is always in your best interest to consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after an accident or personal injury.
Contact Us for a Free Consultation With an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer
Contact Curiel & Runion Personal Injury Lawyers at (602) 975-2665 to learn more about a loss of consortium claim in New Mexico or Arizona. We provide a free case evaluation to discuss your situation and explain how we can help you recover the compensation you deserve for a personal injury or accident claim.