A personal injury claim doesn’t just impact one person. If your spouse has been in a slip-and-fall accident, vehicular accident, or work-related accident, you may wonder how it will impact you and your family. Read on to learn a few things that you need to know about personal injury claims that involve your spouse.
You Can Claim Loss of Consortium for Family Members
If your spouse’s injuries are significant enough, then you may have a loss of consortium claim. Under a loss of consortium claim, you and your children may be able to claim emotional damages, as your spouse is no longer able to provide the emotional, mental, and physical support they once did.
As an example, you may claim compensation for loss of consortium if your spouse is no longer able to hug your children or engage in sexual relations. While the injured person is the primary victim, the people they love and support are affected too, and they should also be compensated for any losses.
Loss of consortium is sometimes difficult to prove, but it becomes easier to claim if there are direct costs as a result of it. An example could be the need for expensive family counseling or therapy. While this type of claim is usually used for children and spouses of an injured person, it can also be used by parents whose children have been injured.
Some Personal Injury Settlements Are Marital Property
In addition to being able to claim loss of consortium, you may also be able to claim a part of the settlement. In the event of a divorce with your spouse, any wage-related settlements that predated the divorce are likely to be marital property, because your spouse’s wages would have been considered marital property. You have the option of claiming this settlement amount as a divorcee.
However, there may be advantages to not doing so. For instance, if your spouse is no longer able to earn a living wage, claiming the settlement could mean an increase in the amount of alimony that is paid on your part. There may also be emotional reasons not to claim a settlement. Further, any settlements directly related to your spouse’s injury, treatment, and care will generally not be able to be claimed in this way.
While marital property is intended to be split equitably, this doesn’t mean that it has to be split in half for each asset. For instance, if your spouse keeps a settlement, you may be able to keep the house or have a similar arrangement.
Co-Mingling Funds Can Complicate a Settlement in the Event of Divorce
If a settlement is of concern, there are ways to protect it during divorce proceedings. However, many of these methods need to be initiated before the divorce or even before the settlement itself is taken. As a settlement is given in a lump sum, the courts can get confused as to whether or not the settlement is marital property even if it was for medical costs.
Once a settlement is co-mingled with marital funds, how the money was used and who the money belongs to becomes a gray area. Consequently, if a large lump sum settlement came in and it was deposited into a marital bank account, determining ownership of the funds may be more complicated. However, if the individual injured still has existing medical bills, the settlement will likely be moved in their favor.
Whenever an injury settlement is involved, the law can get very complicated. If you’re the spouse of an individual who has been injured, you would be wise to get some additional legal counsel, learn how to protect yourself, and find out whether there’s anything more that you should do. Contact the experienced Queens injury attorneys at Shaevitz & Shaevitz Law Offices today to learn more about how personal injury settlements are distributed.