Loss of Consortium in Colorado

Loss of consortium under Colorado law is the loss of:

  • moral support,
  • companionship,
  • sexual relations, or
  • affection

from a spouse.

Part of the Personal Injury Case

A loss of consortium claim is a "derivative" claim, which means it is a part of the personal injury case against a negligent person who caused injury to the spouse.

To succeed on the claim for loss of consortium, the personal injury case must be proven successful as well.

Types of Damages

In pursuing a claim for damages related to loss of consortium, a spouse of an injured person can prove many different things to win financial compensation, including, but not limited to:

  • cost of providing caregiver services to the injured spouse;
  • loss of services previously provided by the injured husband or wife (including child care, chores, etc.);
  • financial award for loss of companionship, friendship, and affection of spouse; or
  • award for the interruption to sexual relations between the married couple.

Factors Considered

When determining how much to award in loss of consortium cases, the judge or jury will consider certain factors, such as:

  • the length of the marriage;
  • the life expectancy of both partners;
  • the degree of the injuries to the injured spouse; or
  • an inability to perform previous duties, functions, or interactions.

Damage Caps

Loss of consortium damages are considered non-economic damages, and are therefore subject to caps or limitations on the total damages an injured spouse may receive under Colorado law.

Below, our Colorado personal injury attorneys address frequently asked questions about loss of consortium claims in personal injury lawsuits and the injuries you may have suffered:

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1. What is a loss of consortium claim in Colorado?

Loss of consortium under Colorado law is the loss of:

  • affection,
  • moral support,
  • sexual relations, or
  • companionship

from a spouse.

This type of claim occurs after a person has been injured and is suing the responsible party in a personal injury lawsuit.1

These cases are not always easy to prove except when the injured husband or wife is severely hurt or permanently disabled. However, with an experienced Colorado attorney by your side, you can prove your case and get financial compensation for your loss.

2. How do I prove my claim as part of the personal injury lawsuit?

To prove a claim of loss of consortium in Colorado, the spouse of an injured person must prove:

  • he or she was married to the injured person at the time of the injury;
  • by "clear and convincing evidence" the spouse suffered damages in the form of moral support companionship, and "aid and comfort" due to the spouse's injuries; or
  • the spouse suffered economic damages for the loss of household services the injured spouse would have otherwise been able to perform; or
  • the spouse incurred expenses, or will do so in the future, because of the spouse's injuries. 2

2.1 What is the clear and convincing evidence standard and why does it apply to my case?

Most civil actions are proved by a "preponderance of the evidence," a lower standard than clear and convincing.3

“Clear and convincing evidence” is an evidentiary standard of proof higher than “preponderance of the evidence,” yet not as high a standard of proof as is “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Clear and convincing evidence is established by showing that:

  • the truth of a contention is highly probable; and
  • free from serious or substantial doubt.4

3. What is a "derivative" claim?

A loss of consortium claim is a "derivative" claim.  This means it is incorporated into the Colorado personal injury case against an individual who caused injury to the spouse.[5]

The personal injury case must be successfully proven in order to succeed on the loss of consortium claim. When working with insurance companies, if the personal injury case is settled, the company will likely require the spouse of the injured party to sign as well, as any financial award is meant to compensate for all claims.

4. What types of damages can I obtain for my claim?

There are many types of damages that can be obtained from the party responsible for the injuries:

  • financial amount that would compensate the spouse for caring for the injured spouse;
  • lack of duties and services that came as a result of the spouse's inability to perform usual tasks (including caring for kids, and household duties);
  • damages for loss of companionship, friendship, and affection of spouse; or
  • money award for interruption to the married couple's sex life.

These awards are different from other economic awards, such as loss of earning capacity, and are considered non-economic damages on the part of the non-injured wife or husband.

4.1 What evidence do I need to provide to prove my damages?

Certain types of evidence are key to proving this claim, including evidence such as:

  • the injured partner's previous duties, or chores around the house;
  • the quality of the marriage;
  • the sexual relationship between the spouses;
  • children of the marriage, and duties for their care; and
  • the time required to care for the injured spouse.

5. What factors are considered to determine damages?

When determining how much to award in loss of consortium cases, the judge or jury will consider certain factors, such as:

  • the length of the marriage;
  • the life expectancy of both partners;
  • the degree of injuries to injured spouse; or
  • an inability to perform previous duties, functions, or interactions.

Once this proof is submitted to the jury, or the judge, depending on who is deciding the case, the evidence will be considered under these and other factors.

6. Will my damages be subject to "caps?"

Loss of consortium damages are considered non-economic damages. This means that there are caps on the total amount of damages a spouse can receive.

The State of Colorado sets certain limitations on the amount of damages a spouse can collect. These damages are generally capped at $250,000, plus inflation.

If, however, the injured spouse can prove that a higher amount is appropriate by clear and convincing evidence, the amount can be up to $500,000, plus inflation. 6

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Call us for help...

To ask questions about loss of consortium claims in personal injury cases or to confidentially discuss your case with one of our skilled Colorado personal injury attorneys, do not hesitate to contact us. For cases in California or Nevada, please see our articles on loss of consortium in California and loss of consortium in Nevada.

We represent clients in and around Denver, Colorado Springs, Aurora, Fort Collins, Lakewood, and several nearby cities.


Legal References:

  1. 8 COPRAC 38:18 Consortium Damages.
  2. Colo. Jury Instr., 4th Civil 6:6; see American Insurance Co. v. Naylor, 103 Colo. 461, 87 P.2d 260 (1939); Spaur v. Allstate Insurance Co., 942 P.2d 1261 (Colo. App. 1996), cert. denied (1997).
  3. CRS 13-25-127 (Civil actions--degree of proof required).
  4. Metro Moving & Storage Co. v. Gussert, 914 P.2d 411 (Colo. App. 1995).
  5. Colorado Compensation Insurance Authority v. Jorgensen, 992 P.2d 1156 (Colo. 2000).
  6. CRS 13-21-102.5 (Limitations on damages for noneconomic loss or injury).

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