Keeping Track of Per Quod Claims in Divorces

People are usually aware that if they are injured in an accident, or as a result of medical or dental malpractice, they may bring a claim for compensation against those responsible for their injuries. What most people are not aware of, however, is that in New Jersey, the spouse of someone who is injured or killed also has an independent claim for damages that is separate and apart from the injured party’s claim. The spouse’s claim is called a “per quod” claim and it seeks compensation for loss of consortium, the intimate relationship between spouses, and companionship.  Services for which a spouse can recover compensation include, but are not limited to, housework, home maintenance, childcare, yard work, cleaning, and cooking.

In a divorce case in which an injury occurred to a spouse prior to the filing of the divorce, it is important to consider the complexities of the other spouse’s per quod claim. New Jersey law recognizes the value of the spouse’s relationship with the injured party, and that when this relationship is altered, diminished, or destroyed, both spouses have sustained injury. In so doing, the law is rightfully acknowledging that when a spouse is injured, that person changes, experiences limitations on activities and, perhaps now needs assistance from others to accomplish tasks that were easily done before being injured.

Cohn Lifland Pearlman Herrmann & Knopf is a full-service firm with attorneys experienced in matrimonial matters as well as personal injury and medical malpractice claims, including claims for the spouse of the injured party.