Nevada law allows you to sue for “loss of consortium” following a wrongful injury to your spouse or registered domestic partner.1 “Consortium” refers to the companionship, moral support and/or intimacy enjoyed by married couples and registered partners.2
A “loss of consortium” cause of action is similar in many respects to a Nevada wrongful death case. However, in a loss of consortium case, you are limited to the right to recover “non-economic” compensatory damages.
These subjective damages are meant to compensate you for a loss in the quality of the relationship and loss of companionship as a result of the defendant’s negligence or other wrongful act.
They do not include economic losses such as the injured person’s lost earning capacity, lost wages, or medical expenses. These damages can be recovered by your injured spouse in the same suit.
In Nevada, loss of consortium is a derivative lawsuit. This means to recover, your injured spouse must also sue (and win) for their injury in the same lawsuit.3
To help you better understand how to sue under Nevada’s “loss of consortium” law, our Nevada personal injury lawyers discuss, below:
- 1. What is the definition of “loss of consortium” under Nevada law?
- 2. How much can I recover?
- 3. What are the elements of a loss of consortium claim in Nevada?
- 4. How do I prove loss of consortium?
- 5. Does my injured spouse have to sue for their injury?
1. What is the definition of “loss of consortium” under Nevada law?
Nevada courts generally define “consortium” as the variety of intangible interests which a spouse or registered domestic partner has in the welfare of their spouses or partners. These include
- sexual relations,
- solace, and
- (if applicable) ability to bear children.4
2. How much in damages can I recover?
Nevada law defines “non-economic damages” as
“damages to compensate for pain, suffering, inconvenience, physical impairment, disfigurement and other nonpecuniary damages.”5
Nevada law generally places no cap on non-economic damages. A jury can award them in any reasonable amount it deems fair.
The more serious and long-lasting the injury is expected to be, the larger the award for loss of consortium damages.
3. What are the elements of a loss of consortium claim in Nevada?
To prevail on a claim, you must prove:
- A valid and lawful marriage or registered domestic partnership,
- A wrongful injury to your spouse or partner,
- You suffered a loss of consortium, and
- The loss of consortium was caused by the injury to your spouse or partner.
The wrongful injury to your spouse or domestic partner can be based on another party’s:
- Gross negligence,
- Intentional tort (wrongful act), or
- Strict liability (under Nevada’s products liability laws).
4. How do I prove loss of consortium?
Proving loss of consortium can be challenging and uncomfortable.
It requires you to disclose intimate details of your marriage or partnership. It may require you and others (such as doctors, family and friends) to testify about changes in your partner’s behavior, including, potentially, details of your intimate life.
Our caring Nevada injury lawyers and private investigators work closely with you so we can explain the loss of consortium to the jury in a way that does not feel exploitative or greedy.
We also work hard to protect you from overreaching cross-examination designed to throw you off-guard.
5. Does my injured spouse have to sue for their injury?
Yes. In Nevada, loss of consortium is a “derivative claim.” This means that your right to recover derives from the injury to your spouse or partner.
In Nevada, your injured spouse or partner must sue for the underlying injury, and the loss of consortium claim must be brought in the same case. This differs from some states (such as California) in which the right to claim loss of consortium exists independently of the claim for the injury to the spouse.
The rationale behind the Nevada rule is to protect against a double recovery – even though the damages you and your spouse/partner recover are for entirely different things.
It is possible that this rule will change as the law becomes more developed in Nevada. Though for now, both you and your spouse/partner must sue.
Was your spouse wrongfully injured in Nevada? Call us for help…
If you have experienced the loss of your spouse’s or partner’s consortium we invite you to contact our personal injury attorneys for a consultation.
You and your spouse may be entitled to significant compensation. But don’t delay – the statute of limitations in Nevada can be as short as one year in some cases. Call us today to get the compensation you need and the peace of mind you deserve.
Are you or your loved one an accident victim? Our Las Vegas, Nevada injury attorneys may be able to help you recover damages for a car accident, slip-and-fall accident (based on premises liability), dog bite, medical malpractice or other wrongful act. We may be able to recover large compensatory damages to cover your medical bills, property damage, and pain and suffering.
We can also help if you need to recover for loss of consortium in California or loss of consortium in Colorado.
Disclaimer: Past results do not guarantee future results.
- NRS 122A.200 confers on registered domestic partners most of the same rights granted to spouses in Nevada. See, for example, Gholson v. Hampton Court Apts. (Court of Appeals of Nevada, 2018) 134 Nev. 942; Halcrow, Inc. v. Eighth Judicial Dist. Court of the State (Nev. 2013) 302 P.3d 1148.
- General Electric Co. v. Bush, 88 Nev. 360, 498 P.2d 366 (Nevada Supreme Court, 1972).
- NRS 41A.011.