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Insult To Injury: Spouses Often Can’t Recover For Emotional Distress From Each Other’s Accident Injury- But They Can Recover For Other Damage

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If your husband or wife is severely hurt in any accident—like medical malpractice, a car crash or 18-wheeler wreck, or a trip and fall—it can be extremely upsetting. Sadly, South Carolina law lays harsh obstacles to recovery for your emotional distress caused by your spouse’s injuries. Compensation is basically limited to a “bystander case.”

Recovery for Emotional Distress From Your Spouse’s Injuries

They call these cases bystander cases because the key requirements are that you must be both near the accident and witness it. The other requirements don’t make it much easier to recover. You must prove death or a serious physical injury to your husband or wife, and the emotional distress must be so severe you have physical symptoms, diagnosed by a health professional, and be proven by expert testimony. Crying spells and feelings of helplessness alone probably won’t do. Hives or vomiting would make the case stronger. And it never gets off the ground without an expert—probably the doctor diagnosing you—testifying the accident caused your distress.

But all hope is not lost.

What Most Spouses Can Recover For

It’s called loss of consortium. It basically measures the damage to your marital relationship as a result of the injuries. It includes many of the emotional costs of such a tragic loss, but the standard of proof required is much more reasonable for a spouse.

Get Legal Help To Fight Your Fight

If your spouse’s injuries are serious enough to threaten your emotional health, you’re already too fragile to take on a monstrous insurance company interested only in saving itself money by taking advantage of you. Send us an email or start a live chat right where you are; we’d be glad to arrange a free meeting to tell us your story so we can start finding you a solution and ease your burden.

 

Rob Usry
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Rob is a South Carolina personal injury and criminal defense lawyer.
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