Crystal Wright | September 16, 2021 | Divorce
People get married for many reasons. Some reasons for getting married might not make sense to other people.
The same is true for divorces. People file for divorce for different reasons. However, the desire to end a marriage can be influenced by outside factors, including getting into a car wreck.
How Can Being in a Car Accident Result in Divorce?
Most people include “for better or worse” and “in sickness and in health” in their marriage vows. For many people, those vows include experiencing a car accident. However, those words do not adequately describe the aftermath and consequences of a car crash.
While a motor vehicle collision may not be the only or primary cause of a divorce, being in a car accident can raise issues that can strain a relationship.
Some couples who have been experiencing problems in their marriage find that the issues surrounding a car wreck cause them to grow further apart. Likewise, the issues related to a traffic accident can highlight problems in a marriage the couple might have ignored until now.
Matters related to a car accident that could increase the chance of a couple divorcing include:
Car accidents can cause severe and catastrophic injuries. In some cases, the injuries lead to incapacitating conditions.
Car accident injuries could include:
- Spinal cord injuries, including paralysis
- Traumatic brain injuries, including cognitive, emotional, and physical disabilities
- Amputations and loss of limbs
- Severe disfigurement and scarring
- Internal organ damage
- Loss of bodily functions, including the ability to conceive a child
Long-term care for someone with a permanent impairment can be challenging. Caregivers often burn out from the emotional and physical stress of caring for a loved one.
Someone could become resentful if they must care for an injured spouse. Likewise, an injured spouse may resent a spouse who goes on with their life.
Financial problems are one of the most common factors that lead to a divorce. A car accident can cause financial hardships for a family.
Economic damages caused by a car wreck can include:
- Medical bills
- Personal care
- In-home nursing care
- Loss of income and benefits
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Decrease in earning capacity
The financial problems increase if the injured spouse sustains a permanent impairment. Unfortunately, health insurance and car insurance might not cover the financial losses from a car crash. The non-injured spouse might sustain a decrease in income because they must care for their spouse and/or children.
In some cases, an accident victim can file a personal injury lawsuit to recover compensation for their economic and non-economic damages. However, filing a claim or lawsuit can result in additional stress for a couple.
Furthermore, if a spouse is at-fault for the cause of a car accident, an accident victim might sue them for damages. If the couple does not have liability insurance to cover the car accident claim, their marital assets could be used to pay the judgment. The at-fault spouse could have their wages garnished because of a personal injury judgment, which means less money for the household.
Serious injuries can impact a partner’s ability to meet a spouse’s physical and emotional needs. Unfortunately, the stress from financial problems and other issues related to the accident can worsen matters. As a result, a spouse might look outside of the marriage to satisfy their needs and desires.
How Can a Divorce Impact a Personal Injury Settlement in Georgia?
If you and your spouse separate and divorce after a car accident, the divorce and the personal injury settlement could be intertwined. A personal injury settlement could be considered a marital asset in some cases. However, it depends on how the settlement is structured to determine whether a non-injured spouse would be entitled to any settlement proceeds.
Generally, settlement proceeds paid to reimburse an injured spouse for economic damages such as medical bills and lost wages could be considered marital property. Therefore, it could be subject to property division in Georgia.
However, the compensation for non-economic damages should be considered separate property. These damages compensate the victim for their pain and suffering. Therefore, pain and suffering damages are generally not subject to property division in a divorce.
Tragically, many couples face problems in their marriage after a car accident. The injured spouse in Georgia might want to seek legal advice from a personal injury lawyer about their rights to receive compensation for damages. Non-injured spouses could be entitled to compensation for a loss of consortium related to the car accident.
Likewise, spouses experiencing marital problems after a car accident could also benefit from seeking legal advice from a divorce lawyer.