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3.4-5  Damages - Fear Resulting from an Increased Risk of Future Medical Treatment and Disability

Revised to January 1, 2008

The plaintiff may recover damages for fear of an increased risk of future medical treatment and disability proximately caused by the defendant’s negligence.  The fear must be rational in that the consequence feared has a reasonable basis in the evidence.  Fear of a completely fictitious or imagined consequence, having no reasonable basis, is not a recoverable element.


Barrett v. Danbury Hospital, 232 Conn. 242, 256 n.6 (1995); Goodmaster v. Houser, 225 Conn. 637, 645-46 (1993); Petriello v. Kalman, 215 Conn. 377, 389-90 (1990).


Although no expert testimony is needed on the existence of the plaintiff’s fear, the reasonable basis for that fear must be established by expert testimony.  The underlying theory of the case law can apply to increased risks of harm other than that of increased risk of future medical treatment and disability.  The charge can thus be modified in an appropriate case.


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