Can I Sue My Spouse in a Car Accident in New York?

Understanding Spousal Immunity in New York: Explained by Brooklyn Car Accident Lawyer

It is very common for spouses to ride in a motor vehicle together. Whether it is out for dinner, running errands, or on vacation, it is natural for a spouse to be the most common passenger in a motor vehicle. It also means in a motor vehicle accident that there is a high probability a spouse may be a passenger. When a motor vehicle crash results in personal injuries to a spouse, most people in New York are surprised to learn about spousal immunity which often bars a personal injury claim. Here at Griss Law Group, our Brooklyn car accident lawyers know how devastating this can be for some seriously injured spouses who may have extreme pain and suffering after a crash.

This is why our personal injury law firm is dedicated to helping individuals and their families recover compensation after an accident in New York. We are also committed to helping educate New Yorkers on their rights, both before and after an accident. If you or a loved one were injured in a car accident in Brooklyn, NY, call our experienced car accident lawyers for a FREE consultation to learn what your rights to compensation may be under the law.

What is Spousal Immunity?

Most states have adopted a doctrine known as spousal immunity in car accident cases. This doctrine prohibits spouses from suing each other in a motor vehicle accident for personal injury damages such as pain and suffering. The same is true under New York law.

Under New York Insurance Law section 3420 (g), a spouse injured in a motor vehicle accident caused by the other spouse may not sure another spouse without an additional rider. This means that a spouse may only obtain no fault benefits for lost wages and medical bills, but not compensation for pain and suffering. The purpose behind this rule is to guard against insurance fraud, because the proceeds of a lawsuit would presumably be shared by both spouses.

Are There Exceptions to Spousal Immunity?

Yes, there are limited exceptions. The most common would be where spouses sign spousal riders with their insurance carrier which allows a spouse to commence an action against another spouse. This is extra or special insurance coverage in addition to your normal policy, and it will increase the premium. However, it will allow a spouse injured in a car accident to commence an action against another spouse for pain and suffering or other noneconomic damages where the spouse was at least 1% at fault for the crash.

For example, if spouse A loses control and hits a pole, injuring spouse B in the crash, without a spousal rider spouse B would only be entitled to lost wages and medical bills. But with a spousal rider, spouse B would also be entitled to pain and suffering, which could be significant if spouse B suffered catastrophic injuries such as a traumatic brain injury, spinal injury, or broken bones.
Man is calling ambulance after car accident

Were You Injured in a Car With a Spouse? Not Sure if You Have a Spousal Rider? Let Us Help You

If you were injured in a motor vehicle accident caused by a spouse, and if you were denied coverage or unsure if you are entitled to commence a personal injury lawsuit for pain and suffering, call the Griss Law Group to schedule a FREE consultation with one of our car accident lawyers in Brooklyn, NY. We have a no-win, no-fee guarantee, meaning we only get paid after you get paid in a settlement, verdict, or other award. Learn more how we can help you by calling (718) 561-1111 or by sending us a message on our “Contact Us” box available here.

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