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Patrick Butler and Vernon F. Michael J. Valder, P. This Court granted plaintiff's petition for review regarding the test that must be satisfied before parents may maintain a cause of action for loss of 's consortium.
We have jurisdiction under Ariz. On June 15,James Anthony Pierce Tonyage 17, was a passenger in the Casas Adobes Baptist Church van when the driver, an agent of the church, accidentally drove off the roadway and overturned the vehicle. Tony suffered severe injuries in the accident and initially required emergency surgery for internal injuries, including a ruptured spleen and ruptured liver.
He also suffered a concussion, a bruised heart and lungs, and his back was broken in two places. During a second surgery, doctors fused his spine from T8 through L5 and permanently inserted two twenty-inch steel rods on either side and parallel to Find casas adobes arizona wife spine. As a result, he has flat back syndrome and walks with a rigidly straight back with his hips pushed forward.
Because of his spinal injury, he suffers bladder and bowel incontinence, limited sexual dysfunction, and must catheterize himself at least four times a day. These conditions are permanent, and may require future hospitalizations. He cannot stoop, squat, bend, sit, or stand for extended periods without discomfort. Tony's injuries did not confine him to a wheelchair or bed, nor did they affect his ability to communicate and interact with others. Although naturally depressed from the effects of his injuries, Tony finished high school, attended community college, and worked at a variety of jobs.
Throughout the trial, the judge commented on the caring and loving relationships obviously existing in the Pierce family. Before the accident, Tony enjoyed hunting, fishing, archery, volleyball, and waterskiing. Although limited in his mobility, Tony ed his parents, cousins, and friends on a hunting trip four months after the accident. He also tried waterskiing and volleyball, but could not perform as well as he used to and, fearing further back injury, he gave up those activities. Currently, he participates in an archery league once a week and uses a bow and arrow when hunting.
The trial court denied loss of consortium damages. The court of appeals affirmed, Ariz. Loss of filial consortium is a recognized cause of action in Arizona. In Reben v. Ely, Ariz. The court of appeals allowed the parent's claim for loss of the child's consortium, recognizing that only the child's bare existence distinguished the claim from a wrongful death case. Reben, Ariz.
In Howard Frank, M. Superior Court, Ariz. Frank, Ariz. Recently, in Villareal v. State, Dept. Villareal, Ariz. In each of these cases a severe and permanent injury reduced the individual's ability to exchange love, affection, companionship, comfort, care, and society. A of other jurisdictions have also recognized parents' claims for loss of their child's consortium.
In some cases, severe and debilitating injuries destroyed or nearly destroyed the exchange of love, care, and companionship in the parent-child relationship. See Dearing v. United States, F. Savage, So. Yost, 72 IdahoP. Parke-Davis Inc. Prier, 66 Wis. In other cases, however, parents' loss of consortium claims were recognized in situations where the injuries did not so severely damage the Find casas adobes arizona wife relationship. Dymek v. Nyquist, Ill. American Family Ins. In the plaintiff's loss of consortium claim, counsel incorrectly included a claim for the emotional distress suffered by Tony's parents after learning of the accident and watching Tony cope with his injuries.
Appropriately, these are damages for negligent infliction of emotional distress and not for loss of consortium. A negligent infliction of emotional distress cause of action requires the plaintiff to: 1 witness an injury to a closely related person, 2 suffer mental anguish manifested as physical injury, and 3 be within the zone of danger so as to be subject to an unreasonable risk of bodily harm created by the defendant.
Jackson, Ariz. Tony's parents were not within the zone of danger at the time of Tony's injury, and therefore have no cause of action for negligent infliction of emotional distress. Loss of consortium, on the other hand, is defined as a loss of capacity to exchange love, affection, society, companionship, comfort, care and moral support.
See Reben, Ariz. Within the guidelines established in Reben, Frank, and Villareal, we hold that parents may maintain a cause of action for loss of their child's consortium when the child suffers a severe, permanent, and disabling injury that substantially interferes with the child's capacity to interact with his parents in a normally gratifying way. Although evidence of a ificant interference in the parent-child relationship must exist, the injury need not be the functional equivalent of death or even be categorized as "catastrophic.
Once the judge finds that the child's injuries are sufficiently severe to warrant a cause of action for loss of consortium, the trier of fact determines the question of recovery or the amount recoverable based on the degree of that interference. Although both Reben and Frank involved injuries that nearly destroyed the parent-child relationship, this court did not limit loss of consortium claims to such catastrophes.
Not all injuries to will result in a parent's claim for loss of consortium. We hold that parents may maintain a cause of action for loss of their child's consortium when the child suffers a severe, permanent and disabling Find casas adobes arizona wife rendering the child unable to exchange love, affection, care, comfort, companionship and society in a normally gratifying way.
Once the threshold of a ificant interference with the normal relationship between parent and child is established, it is a question of fact whether, and to what extent, the child's injury justifies recovery. The trial court apparently concluded that the parent's loss of consortium claim was precluded as a matter of law based on an overly restrictive interpretation of the standard set out in Reben and Frank.
We therefore vacate the court of appeals decision, and reverse and remand this case to the trial court for further proceedings consistent with this opinion. See Villareal, Ariz. The court feels that it is guided by the language of the court as follows: "In conclusion, we believe parents should have a remedy in damages against a negligent tortfeasor whose actions have so severely injured the parents' adult child that they are deprived of their child's society, companionship, love and support in short, of the child's consortium.
Frank v. Superior Court has in Find casas adobes arizona wife announced that loss of consortium for an adult child can be awarded in a case where there are severe injuries. It would seem that severe injuries means injuries that so incapacitate that there is practically no means of exchange of love, affection, etc. The Frank case and Reben v. Ely, P. In the instant case, the loss of consortium meaning love, companionship, comfort, social relationships, etc.
Pierce v. Supreme Court of Arizona, En Banc. October 31, Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress Distinguished In the plaintiff's loss of consortium claim, counsel incorrectly included a claim for the emotional distress suffered by Tony's parents after learning of the accident and watching Tony cope with his injuries. The Rule Within the guidelines established in Reben, Frank, and Villareal, we hold that parents may maintain a cause of action for loss of their child's consortium when the child suffers a severe, permanent, and disabling injury that substantially interferes with the child's capacity to interact with his parents in a normally gratifying way.
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