Can You Sue Your Spouse for a Car Accident Injury?
UPDATED: February 20, 2020
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Whether you may sue your spouse after a car accident that he or she causes depends both on 1) where you live, and 2) the circumstances surrounding the accident.
Your Right to Sue Your Spouse for a Car Accident
Each state has different rules regarding who can be sued (including spouses) after a car accident. However, the rules can broadly be grouped into three different camps:
- In some states, you are not permitted to sue your spouse, even if he was negligent. This rule is imposed because, generally, when you sue your spouse, you are really suing your insurance company who will be paying the bills. Some state legislatures believe that allowing a person to sue his spouse—and insurance company—could lead to fraudulent claims as a person could get into an accident solely for the purpose of having his spouse make such a claim.
- In other areas, you may sue your spouse only if you purchase special coverage. This coverage, often called "Supplemental Spousal Liability Insurance" allows you to file suit if your spouse is negligent and causes you to get into an accident.
- In other states, you may sue your spouse if your spouse is ever negligent and gets into an accident, even if you have not purchased any type of special coverage. You will, however, again need to be able to prove that negligence exists and that your spouse's negligence directly led to the damages you sustained.
Whether your state is one of the 12 no-fault states also impacts who you can sue. In these states, it is often the case that only injuries legally defined as serious carry a right to sue for damages for pain and suffering or emotional distress.
Seeking Legal Help with Your Claim
If you wish to file a lawsuit against your spouse for a car accident, consider speaking with a lawyer in your area. S/he can assist you in determining if the action will be permitted under the laws where you live.