Family Member Claims

Certain family members can also file a claim for their own personal loss when some is killed or seriously injured in Iowa. These types of claims are commonly referred to as loss of consortium, services, and support, or sometimes simply consortium claims.  The three family members that are generally allowed to make a claim are the spouse, parent, or child of the person who was killed or injured.  These claims generally need to be made with the underlying estate’s claim in a wrongful death action unless it is not feasible to do so for some reason.    
  1. Parental Claims and Damages. When a minor child is killed or injured, a parent can bring an action for loss of consortium and services.  Until relatively recently however, parents of an adult child were not allowed to make such a claim.  This changed in 2007 when the legislature amended the Iowa code to allow parents to bring claims for the death of an adult child as well.  Note that parents are still not allowed to make a claim under Iowa law for injuries to an adult child no matter how severe. 
    • Loss of consortium- Parental consortium refers to a parent’s loss of the intangible benefits of the parent child relationship such as companionship, cooperation, aid and affection.  Like pain and suffering, there is no mathematical formula to calculate these losses.  However, these losses are valued significantly by Iowa juries and can and have led to very substantial verdicts.  In fact GRL law has obtained 3 of the 5 highest ever reported verdicts for adult-child consortium claims in Iowa.  
    • Loss of Support- Parents are also entitled to the economic value of the loss of the child’s services which includes both the amount the child could have earned outside the home as well as the value of the child’s labor inside the home.  
    • Other damages- Parents are also entitled to compensations for medical bills and burial expenses as well if they incur those expenses. 
  2. Spousal Claims and Damages
    • Loss of consortium- This is the loss of the intangible benefits of the marital relationship such as companionship, cooperation, aid and affection.  
    • Loss of Support- this is the value of the financial support which the husband or wife would have contributed but for his or her death.  If the spouse is a consistent worker and especially if he or she is a high wage earner, these claims can get quite large.  
  3. Child Claims and Damages
    • Loss of consortium- Both minor and adult children can make claims for loss of the intangible benefits of the child-parent relationship such as companionship, cooperation, aid and affection.  
    • Loss of support- Minor children (but not adult children) can make a claim for loss of a financial support due to a parent’s death. 

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