How Divorce Affects an Accident Case

An injury from an accident affects a person in many ways; physically, psychologically, and financially.  At times the injuries and the effect of the injuries on a person can affect their marriage to the point that the marriage fails.  In other cases a husband and wife may divorce for reasons other than the injuries or the injuries may be one of many factors leading to a divorce. People are often surprised by what happens with their injury case in relation to the divorce process.

There are two fundamental laws in Pennsylvania regarding the claims of separated and divorced couples.  The first is a concept called loss of consortium.  Loss of consortium is the legal term for the right of a non-injured spouse to claim damages for the injury sustained by their spouse.  The law recognizes that when one person is injured, their wife or husband sustains a loss arising from that injury.  The non-injured spouse will lose the full companionship of their injured spouse, may have to take care of their injured husband or wife, and may have to work harder in their home because of the disability experienced by the injured spouse.

The second rule of law of significance is that assets acquired during a marriage are property of both spouses.  This rule specifically includes a claim for personal injury damages. If an injury occurs during the marriage and before the parties separate, the non-injured spouse is entitled to an interest in the proceeds of any settlement or verdict on behalf of the injured party.  This rule is in many cases a source of aggravation for the injured party and a significant point of contention between the husband and wife.

Call attorney Matvey now at 724-709-7958.

If the marriage fails because of the injury, the non-injured spouse will often want compensation, figuring that they’ve lost their marriage because of the negligence of another and they deserve it.  The injured spouse’s response basically is “how do you think I feel, I lost my marriage and I have these physical problems to deal with.”  In other cases, the non-injured husband or wife will want a share of the proceeds out of spite, looking at the claim as another point of contention to use against their spouse.  This approach is not all that uncommon given the acrimony present in many divorce situations.

What often happens in these cases is that an injury attorney like myself will talk to the lawyers handling the divorce for the husband and wife and an agreement will be reached between the parties to divide the proceeds of the settlement between the parties.

For the children of divorced and separated parents, there can also be complicated insurance issues involved.  Determining the proper source for insurance benefits and the possibility of multiple insurance sources requires detailed analysis of the facts of the child’s living and residence arrangements.

Contact Attorney Matvey today at 724-709-7958 to discuss your accident case.