Many states allow loved ones to seek compensation when a family member is killed as a result of the negligent or reckless acts of another. Often included in these claims is a legal concept known as loss of consortium, which essentially is another way of describing the loss of companionship, care, love and affection you suffer following a loved one’s passing.
In Connecticut, however, claims for loss of consortium can only be brought by widowed spouses – until now. In fact, the Supreme Court of Connecticut recently determined that children can also file loss of consortium claims when their parents perish at the hands of negligent individuals, reversing decades of case precedent in the process.
Why did the court change its mind?
The recent Connecticut Supreme Court decision stems from a tragic 2008 bicycle collision in which motor vehicle stuck a father of three in the town of West Haven. Sadly, the man suffered severe injuries, resulting in his death a few days later.
In this case, the court determined that the reasons for recognizing claims for loss of parental consortium outweigh the reasons against it. The court noted several specific factors that contributed to its decision, including:
- The unique emotional attachment and relationship between parents and children, including intangibles such as love, care, companionship and guidance
- The importance of ensuring the continuity of the crucial services provided to children by their parents
- The interest of society in the continued development of kids as contributing members of society
- The public policy in favor of protecting and compensating innocent parties, while deterring wrongful conduct and shifting the loss to the responsible parties
Even though the court’s opinion imposed certain restrictions on parental loss of consortium suits – including limiting claims to children who are minors at the time of the parental injury – this decision will nevertheless serve as a vital legal tool for kids in Connecticut. However, navigating these complex laws can be difficult, which is why it is often best to seek professional legal guidance if you have any questions.