Can I Sue My Spouse for Personal Injury?
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If you’ve been in an accident that was your spouse’s fault, you may wonder exactly what kind of legal action you can take. While it often doesn’t make sense to sue your spouse for personal injury, there are some cases where it may actually be a good idea. Here are some of the legalities about such a lawsuit.
Interspousal Immunity in the Courts Is Mostly Gone
At one point, the courts prohibited spouses from suing each other via interspousal immunity. It basically said that spouses couldn’t bring a civil suit against each other for damages. However, while this was common law, it has mostly been abolished. The original laws were based on the idea that a married couple was basically a single individual, but this is no longer the legal view.
Insurance Clauses Have Taken Up Interspousal Immunity
While interspousal immunity laws were mostly off the books by 1970, insurance companies continue to be concerned about collusion. They are concerned that spouses may conspire to defraud the insurance company by suing each other. This is why many insurance agencies now have spousal immunity or household clauses in their contracts. Before going to court against your spouse, carefully check your insurance policy to make sure you don’t have one of these clauses. These clauses can be found in any type of insurance policy, including homeowner and automobile.
What this Means for You
Legally, you can bring a civil lawsuit against your spouse for damages. Unfortunately, if you have an interspousal immunity clause in your insurance policy, you may not gain much of anything by doing so. For example, if such a clause is in your auto insurance, the insurance company won’t pay anything if you sue your spouse for hitting you with their car. Legally, you may be two separate individuals, but the insurance company sees the two of you as a single unit.
Of course, before you decide any legal action, you need to consult an expert. The attorneys at Held & Hines can assist you in reading through your insurance policies for spousal immunity clauses and filing any legal paperwork if you decide to pursue the case. Contact us today to arrange a free consolation.