153 Market St., Lexington, KY 40507 This is an advertisement phone: (859) 253-9999
Todd & Todd A Professional Limited Liability Company

Personal Injury Newsletter

Loss of Consortium Damages When a Child is Severely Injured

Although “loss of consortium” damages are traditionally associated with spousal relationships, modern cases have extended the right to recover them to parent-child relationships. Referred to as “filial consortium damages,” these awards are intended to compensate the parent for the loss of affection, love and companionship that results from a child’s injury or death.

Wrongful Death Actions Distinguished

In cases where parents sue for the wrongful death of their child, most jurisdictions permit parents to recover filial consortium damages from the wrongdoer. Parents can generally recover these damages under the state’s wrongful death statute.

The situation is much different, however, in cases where the child survives. Under these circumstances, although the child may have suffered severe permanent injuries, state law varies significantly with respect to the availability of filial consortium damages. As a general proposition, most states do not recognize parents’ claims for lost consortium when the child survives.

Majority of States: No Filial Consortium Damages for Non-Fatal Injuries

A majority of jurisdictions do not permit parents of non-fatally injured children to recover filial consortium damages. The following examples reflect the status of the law in several states:

  • In 2003, the Texas Supreme Court declined to extend a claim for loss of consortium to the parents of a child with a non-fatal injury. As such, Texas does not permit parents to recover loss of consortium damages resulting from a child’s serious injuries.
  • In 1988, Michigan’s highest state court held that a parent has no cause of action for loss of consortium damages when a child is negligently injured. However, the parent is still entitled to sue for loss of services as well as medical expenses.
  • In 1986, the Wyoming Supreme Court similarly rejected a parent’s right to consortium damages resulting from serious injuries to a child.

Some States Allow Parents to Recover for Non-Fatal Injuries

A substantial minority of jurisdictions authorize parental recovery of consortium damages for injured minor children. In some states, parents may recover under a statute which expressly sanctions such damages. In other states, however, parents must rely on case law and judicial interpretation to recover filial consortium damages.

Though not an exhaustive list, the following states permit a parent to recover loss of filial consortium for non-fatal injuries:

  • A Massachusetts statute sets forth the following rule: “The parents of a minor child or an adult child who is dependent on his parents for support shall have a cause of action for loss of consortium of the child who has been seriously injured against any person who is legally responsible for causing such an injury.”
  • In 1994, the Florida Supreme Court expressly ruled that a parent has a common law right to recover for loss of an injured child’s consortium, stating “The loss of a child’s companionship and society is one of the primary losses that the parent of a severely injured child must endure.”
  • In 1986, the Arizona Supreme Court granted parents the right to recover consortium damages from a third party who permanently injures their adult child. The court expressly refused to limit loss of consortium damages in severe injury cases to cases involving minors: “Loss of consortium is a compensable harm, and we see no basis for limiting this action solely to cases of wrongful death [and] no reason for limiting the class of plaintiffs to parents of minor children when the parents of adult children may suffer equal or greater harm.”
  • Experts are Important to Proving Many Civil Cases
    Authorities suggest that “lay” witnesses may testify to conclusions drawn from their own observations, while an “expert” expresses an opinion based on special knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education.... Read more.
  • Proving Liability for a Slip and Fall Injury
    There is no concise formula to determine whether injuries sustained from a fall are the responsibility of another. Each case is individually evaluated to see if the business or property owner was careful to prevent any injuries. The... Read more.
  • Work-Related Injuries and Employer Liability
    Workplace injuries are usually followed by a Workers’ Compensation claim filed on behalf of the injured employee. However, in certain situations a lawsuit against the employer may be more appropriate and more rewarding for the... Read more.
  • An Overview of Spectator Injuries
    The liability of property owners for injuries that occur to persons on their property is largely a creation of state law and court decisions. For this reason, the nature of a property owner’s duties to individuals on the... Read more.
Personal Injury News Links
Share This Page:

Contact Information

Todd & Todd A Professional Limited Liability Company (859) 253-9999 153 Market Street, Lexington, KY 40507

COMMUNITIES WE SERVE

Todd & Todd, PLLC is located in Lexington, KY and serves clients in and around Lexington, Keene, Nicholasville, Versailles, Midway, Georgetown, Wilmore, Winchester, Ford, Paris, Stamping Ground, Richmond, Cynthiana, Sadieville, Frankfort, Burgin, Clark County, Fayette County, Franklin County, Harrison County, Jessamine County, Mercer County, Scott County and Woodford County.

Designed and Powered by NextClient

© 2014 - 2021 Todd & Todd, PLLC. All rights reserved.
Custom WebExpress™ attorney website design by NextClient.com.

Contact Form Tab