How Will a Malpractice Claim Affect My Divorce?
A malpractice claim– be it against a Washington DC allergist or a Los Angeles OB/GYN– can take years to resolve, and during that time, lives may change and marriages may dissolve. If you or your spouse has been a victim of medical malpractice, determining whether both parties are entitled to that award can be tricky, and the ruling very much goes on a case by case– and state by state– basis.
Say you are married and, during your marriage your spouse is injured due to medical practice. If your spouse wins a settlement, you may be entitled to a portion of it. In some instances, a spouse may try to prevent you from claiming any of this compensation and instruct his/her malpractice attorneys in Los Angeles (or wherever the case is based) not to add you as a party. If your spouse tries to prevent you from obtaining a portion, it may still be possible, as a spouse, to obtain a portion of the settlement. In California, for instance, if a Los Angeles medical malpractice attorney helps win proceeds for your spouse, you may be able to put a lien on the proceeds. However, this is not allowed in Florida, and you will have to go through a different means to get the results you desire.
Be aware, however, even if you are entitled to a portion of the proceeds from your spouse’s malpractice suit, it may only be a small portion. This includes shared expenses such as medical expenses and loss of contributions to a 401k. You are less likely to receive payment for the intangible “general damages” such as emotional trauma and other forms of “pain and suffering.” This is where the larger payments are often made. However, there are types of general damages to which a spouse may be entitled, including “loss of consortium,” that is, the loss of physical intimacy or companionship due to a spouse’s personal injury. If your spouse’s McLean VA allergist or other medical professional is forced to pay for such damages, you may be entitled to a portion. Be aware, however, that in pursuing any money from a spouse’s personal injury claim, the details of your relationship will be closely scrutinized.
Whether you or your spouse has filed a claim against an allergist in Manassas VA, Los Angeles CA, or any other part of the country, your case will be filled with nuances that can affect the outcome. Be aware that, while the extra money may be worth it, fighting for those funds can lead to a longer, more stressful, more contentious divorce.