When you're injured by your spouse—physically, mentally, or financially—you can sue them for damages. Like any other lawsuit, though, there are challenges you might encounter when pursuing personal injury compensation from someone to whom you're still legally married. Here are two issues you should prepare for.
There May Be Legal or Contractual Prohibitions
In most states, you have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit against your husband or wife to recover compensation for damages related to injuries they inflicted on you. Unfortunately, there are a few states that still have active interspousal immunity laws that either partially or fully prohibit spouses from suing each other. This means that even though you may have a valid case, it'll be dismissed by the court if the laws in your state say you can't file a claim against someone you're legally married to.
Along those same lines, you may be contractually prohibited from suing your spouse. You'll typically encounter this issue with insurance companies. For instance, it's common for auto insurers to include a stipulation that you cannot file a claim against your spouse because they consider you and your spouse to be a single household and you would essentially be filing a claim against yourself. Thus, while you could still sue your husband or wife, the insurance company won't pay the judgment.
That doesn't mean there's no way forward if you come against these issues. You may have to wait until your divorce finalizes before filing your lawsuit. In the case of contractual prohibitions, you could still collect the money from the person directly. It's a good idea to consult with an attorney who can provide information about your options.
You May Have Difficulty Collecting the Award
Another issue you may encounter is one many plaintiffs have to deal with, and that's actually collecting the court judgment. You may win the lawsuit, but getting the money from the person could prove to be problematic. When it comes to married couples, though, the issue may be further complicated by an impending divorce or marital property issues.
For example, if you're awarded most of the assets in a divorce, your spouse may have nothing they can use to actually pay the court judgment. Another problem that can occur is a dishonest spouse may use joint assets to satisfy the claim, so they'd essentially be using your money to pay you.
This issue can get pretty complex fairly quickly, which is why you should work with a lawyer who can ensure you get what's owed to you and prevent your spouse from taking advantage of you.
For help with your case, contact a local personal injury lawyer.