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Connecticut Supreme Court to Consider Damage Claims of Children

The Connecticut Supreme Court is expected to hear argument in this term concerning whether children, who have lost a parent’s love and affection due to death or serious injury caused by the negligence of another, should have a right to seek compensation. The case, Estate of Campos v. Coleman, was filed by Mills Law Firm, in New Haven, after a jury trial, in which damages were awarded to the decedent’s estate and to the bereaved spouse, but not to his four children, whose claims were stricken by the trial court because Connecticut does not currently recognize claims for loss of parental consortium.

Attorney John Mills, who represents the four children, stated “We feel very strongly that the time has come for Connecticut to join the majority of states in recognizing a claim for loss of consortium for minor children who have lost a parent as a result of someone else’s negligent conduct. The loss of a mother or a father is devastating for a young child, and unlike a spouse, who can remarry, the loss is permanent, and lasts forever. It is inherently illogical to permit a spouse to recover damages for loss of consortium, while barring the deceased person’s own children from making any claim for their loss, which is certainly equal, if not greater.”

Currently, Connecticut does recognize claims for spousal loss of consortium, but the state has thus far declined to expand this right of recovery to children. The Campos case arose out of a wrongful death lawsuit filed in 2010 after Mr. Campos was struck and killed by a motorist while riding his bicycle in West Haven, Connecticut. He was survived by his wife and four children. The case went to trial in 2012 in New Haven Superior Court, and the jury awarded damages of approximately 2.4 million dollars. $1 million dollars of those damages were awarded solely to Mrs. Campos, for her loss of the love, companionship and affection of her husband. Prior to trial, the children’s claims for loss of consortium were stricken by the court, and these claims were not presented to the jury.

“During the trial, we were prohibited from introducing any evidence about the devastating impact the loss of this great father had on his children,” said Mills. “Mr. Campos was dedicated Dad, who spent endless hours coaching his children in sports and raising them to be good kids. Their lives were shattered, and yet they were never given their day in court. Even though the jury found that their father died because of the negligence of the driver of the van who hit him while he was riding his bike, the children were ignored by the judicial system. This is not right, and we hope to change this by winning our appeal.”