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Consortium

Consortium is a relatively new damage element that arose from the acceptance that the services performed by a homemaker have economic value. It has evolved to cover either spouse, and in some states it can include claims by children. Consortium is the economic value of the services that the injured person would have provided to the family but for the injury: cooking, cleaning, shopping, helping with school work, fixing the roof, and other domestic services that could conceivably be purchased from a third party. Consortium also includes elements that are unique to the injured individual: advice and counseling, companionship, and sexual services. These not readily reducible to a monetary value but are compensable in the same way as pain and emotional distress.

Consortium claims are important in cases in which there is no significant wage loss or when loss of sexual services includes the loss of reproductive potential. If the couple has not completed their family and the accident makes procreation impossible or improbable, they are entitled to compensation. They are not required to mitigate their damages through fertility technologies, and the courts do not regard adoption as a substitute for personally bearing children.


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