Filing A Personal Injury Claim Against Your Spouse

Did you know that as a victim of domestic abuse, you can file a personal injury lawsuit against your spouse. Like with other types of personal injury claims, you need to consult a personal injury attorney and take a few things into consideration before you proceed.

Your Safety

Your safety should be your first concern. Leaving an abusive spouse isn't easy, and it can be dangerous, so you need to plan ahead. Pack a bag ahead of time and it until you can leave. Make sure to pack:

  • Money
  • Anything that may be important to your case, such as bloody clothing, pictures of your injuries, and photos of things in your home that your spouse destroyed.
  • Copies of legal and financial documents pertaining to you, your spouse, and your children, such as birth certificates, social security cards, and pay check stubs.
  • Basic necessities, such as extra clothes and medications.

If you have children, need to do is talk to a lawyer that specializes in domestic abuse and custody before you leave the home. In some states, you can be charged with parental kidnapping if you take your children with you when you leave, especially if you're planning to leave the state. However, if you leave your children behind until you can find a safe place to live, it could negatively impact your chances of getting custody of your children later because you left them in the care of an abusive person.

Also, before your personal injury attorney, like those at Burgess, Harrell, Mancuso, Colton, La Porta & Shea, files a claim against your spouse, you should consider obtaining a restraining order from civil court. A restraining order typically mandates that your spouse stay away from you and your children, and if your spouse is found within a certain distance from you, your spouse can be arrested immediately. This means, you don't need to wait for an incident to occur before calling the police. If you see your spouse near your home, you can call the authorities immediately.

You Need to File for Divorce

Before you your lawyer files a personal injury claim against your spouse, you need to begin divorce proceedings. However, your divorce doesn't need to be finalized. When you're married, all of your property and money is considered jointly owned. So, if you're suing your spouse for emotional pain and suffering in civil court, you might win your case. However, if you are supposed to receive a monetary settlement from your spouse, it's not possible unless you've already filed for divorce. Basically, the court cannot take money from one spouse and award it to another spouse because the money is already owned by you both. 

What to Give Your Lawyer

It's important to give your personal injury attorney as much evidence as possible to help him win your case. In addition to photos and other items that you took from your home, you should give your attorney any documents that you have, including:

  • Medical bills and records
  • Police reports
  • Counseling records
  • Medical records from emergency room visits
  • Court records

Talking to a personal injury attorney is your first step. Your attorney will help you make the right decision for your individual situation. Regardless of whether you decide to file a personal injury claim against your spouse, the most important thing you can do is take the steps needed to protect yourself from your abuser.