Following a significant accident you are hospitalized for weeks. You then undergo rehabilitation therapy and physical therapy for months afterwards.
You are married.
Your level of intimacy has fallen off the charts. There is no intimacy any more. You were happily married before. You had a healthy sex life. You enjoyed being intimate with your spouse.
Now, following the accident, not only are you in significant pain but you are unable to do many of the activities you could do before.
One of those activities involved being intimate with your spouse.
If you choose to bring a lawsuit in New York seeking compensation for the harms and injuries that you suffered, can you include as part of your claim, your inability to have sex?
If you have a decreased sexual drive or decrease sexual libido, can you include that as part of your damage claim?
The answer is yes.
In every type of accident claim or medical malpractice claim where you've suffered significant injury and were married, your attorney will almost always include a claim for “loss of consortium.”
This means that because of the injuries you suffered, you are no longer able to have that type of relationship with your spouse that you did before your incident. It means you are less intimate than before. It means that your spouse must now do many of the things you were able to do before your injury.
To get even more specific, it also means your ability to have sex has either been eliminated or significantly diminished.
That is a valid part of a claim when you seek compensation for those injuries stemming from someone else's carelessness.
When you claim that your sexual activity has been altered or changed as a result of someone's carelessness, the defense attorney has a right to ask you questions about that during a pretrial testimony.
Defense attorneys who question you may make you very uncomfortable. It's not easy to talk about your sex life with some lawyer who is trying to gain information to use against you. It's often not comfortable to talk about your sex life with anyone besides your spouse. Even then, it can be uncomfortable.
When you are claiming that as a result of someone's negligence you are unable to be intimate with your spouse, the defense attorney will most often ask what you were able to do before your injury and what you are able to do now, after your injury.
Many young inexperienced defense attorneys are likewise embarrassed by asking these intimate questions. Yet they will tell you that they must ask these questions in order to develop a greater picture of how your injuries have affected your life.
What I find to be most remarkable is that there is absolutely no way for the defense determine whether your claims of decreased sexual activity are in fact true.
Naturally, if you have made comments to your doctor about your inability to have sex, the defense will see that when they obtain copies of your medical records. But other than making comments or observations to your doctor, how does the defense really know how many times a week you were having sex before your injury?
How does the defense truly know how many times a week you are able to have sex now?
The reality is that they don't.
Yet they still feel the need to go into details about sexual positions and what happens if you try different position and whether you have pain on top compared to being on the bottom.
I find that the most experienced defense attorneys who try cases are bit more savvy and more subtle when asking these questions. They recognize the irony of not being able to prove or confirm this testimony about your sex life.
Instead, those attorneys tend to ask open-ended questions such as “How have these injuries affected your intimacy with your spouse?” They let you, the injured victim, explain in your own words how this has affected you.
Since most injured victims aren't comfortable talking about their intimate sex life details, an injured victim will touch on it briefly without the need to go into exquisite detail.
To answer the question in the title, yes, your inability to be intimate and your inability to have sex is a valid claim in a civil lawsuit involving a car accident or medical malpractice here in New York.