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Nevada Children Not Entitled To Damages For Loss Of Consortium With Injured Parent

Mr. Bush was catastrophically injured when eye bolts on a large electrical control cabinet failed as the cabinet was being lifted by crane onto a Haulpak mining truck.  The cabinet hit Mr. Bush in the head causing him permanent brain injuries and rendering him totally incapacitated.  The jury found the manufacturer of the cabinet liable on a “failure to warn” theory.  See Ginnis v. Mapes Hotel Corp., 86 Nev. 408, 470 P.2d 135 (1970).  The argument was that General Electric should have given rigging instructions that would reduce the possibility of bolt failure.  See also, Pike v. Frank G. Hough Co., 467 P.2d 229 (Cal. 1970); Johnson v. Standard Brands Paint Co., 274 Cal. App.2d 331, 340, 79 Cal.Rptr. 194 (1969); Barth v. B. F. Goodrich Tire Co., 265 Cal.App.2d 228, 245, 71 Cal.Rptr. 306 (1968); Gherna v. Ford Motor Co., 246 Cal.App.2d 639, 651, 55 Cal.Rptr. 94 (1966) and Canifax v. Hercules Powder Co., 237 Cal.App.2d 44, 52-53, 46 Cal.Rptr. 552 (1965).

Loss of Consortium, Failure to Warn, Nevada Insurance Law, Mills & Associates Nevada Insurance and Coverage Lawyers 702-240-6060 In the case of General Electric Co. v. Bush, 88 Nev. 360, 498 P.2d 366 (1972), the Nevada Supreme Court resolved the products liability issues in favor of the injured Plaintiff and then went on to address damages.  The court recognized that in addition to loss of support, a wife can recover for loss of consortium for her husband’s injuries on certain conditions.  See HERE for additional information. The court then addressed the question of whether children had the right to recover for loss of consortium for the catastrophic injuries to their father.  At the time of this opinion the Nevada Supreme Court found scant authority in support of such a premise.  It said:

    Only one court has recognized their cause of action. Scruggs v. Meredith, 134 F.Supp. 868 (D.C. Hawaii 1955) (reversed on appeal by authority of Halberg v. Young, 41 Hawaii 634, 59 A.L.R.2d 445 (1957)). Substantial differences exist in the consideration of the children’s claim as against that of their mother, all of which have compelled the overwhelming weight of authorities to be against an action for the children. Halberg v. Young, supra; Annot., 59 A.L.R.2d 454 (1958); Hayrynen v. White Pine Copper Co., 157 N.W.2d 502 (Mich.App. 1968). We are satisfied to await legislative action, if any, on this issue.

88 Nev. at 368.

I do not think that this case stands for the proposition that children cannot recover damages for the loss of anticipated support from an injured parent.  Instead, this case simply says that loss of consortium type damages can only be recovered by a spouse and not by the children of a seriously injured Plaintiff.  If you have any other questions regarding Loss of Consortium in Nevada, please feel free to send us an email or give us a call at 702-240-6060.

About Michael Mills

Mr. Mills practices in the area of civil litigation and appeals, with particular experience in matters involving trucking liability, insurance defense, insurance coverage, premises liability, products liability and defense of personal injury. Mr. Mills is a member of the Trucking Insurance Defense Association, the Defense Research Institute Trucking Committee and the Nevada Motor Transport Association. Mr. Mills is licensed to practice before the Nevada Supreme Court and the Utah Supreme Court. He is also licensed to appear before the United States Supreme Court, the U.S. District Courts for the Districts of Nevada and Utah, as well as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Mr. Mills has created 3 Blogs for the benefit of the insurance industry. He serves as editor and publisher of the Nevada Insurance Law Blog, the Nevada Coverage and Bad Faith Blog and the Nevada Trucking Law Blog.

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