People get injured by their spouses from time to time. For example, you may be injured as a passenger in a car accident where your spouse was the driver at-fault. When this happens, bills can pile up easily. You may be unable to work and have mounting medical expenses, not to mention the cost of getting the family car repaired.
In this case, it may in your best interest to make an insurance claim against your own spouse. If not, who will compensate you for your losses? And After all, isn’t that what you and your spouse have paid the all those insurance premiums for?
Read here to find out if you can file a personal injury claim against a spouse and how insurance providers deal with these types of claims.
Claims Against Spouses
Basically, there are two main questions to answer in regards to personal injury claims against spouses:
- Does the law allow one spouse to sue another?
- Will a personal injury claim made by one spouse against another be covered by an insurance policy they share.
In most states, the law allows a spouse to bring a personal injury suit against another for injuries caused by negligence or intent.
However, since spouses normally share the bulk of their assets, a judgement rendered in favor of one spouse and against the other is usually a moot point. So, the real question is how do insurers handle claims brought by one spouse against another.
In some states, the law provides that insurance companies cannot exclude coverage for a spouse who is negligently injured by another, though they often exclude coverage for injuries caused intentionally. In these states, a spouse can make a claim for injuries caused by their counterpart’s negligence, even if they own the insurance policy jointly.
In other states, however, an insurer is allowed to exclude coverage for claims in which the insured may be partially liable because of close familial ties, as long as the policy meets the statutory minimum liability requirement. So, the negligent spouse’s insurer would only be responsible for anything up to the statutory minimum liability limit.
So for example, if you were injured in a car accident where your spouse was the driver at-fault you would only be able to recover compensation up to your state’s statutory minimum liability limit, which is on average $25,000 across the nation. So even if your spouse has $100,000 in liability insurance, the total amount of damages you would be entitled to recover would be limited to $25,000. However, you may be eligible to recover additional compensation if your spouse also has personal injury protection (PIP) insurance, which is a no-fault form of insurance, that should cover you regardless.
This does not preclude your insurer from providing coverage in excess of the statutory minimum, and this may very well be the case. So, you should always check the exclusion section of your policy and speak with your insurance agent to find out whether your policy provides coverage for spousal or familial liability above and beyond the statutory minimum liability requirement.
Contact a Ryan R. Cox & Associates personal injury lawyer to discuss your particular case.