A catastrophic auto accident often affects more than just those who were injured in the collision. The uninjured spouses of those who suffered injuries and damages in the accident can also be victims.
You may wonder how that can be. Consider how that spouse's life will also change after the wreck. There are many aspects of the marriage that may have been torn asunder and that may never be repaired.
Derivative damage claims may be possible
Here is Michigan, we refer to spousal loss of consortium claims as derivative damage claims because they derived from the original injury to the other spouse. If you are married and your spouse was paralyzed or suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI), that spouse may no longer be able to engage in marital relations with you, thus depriving you of that specific marital benefit. As such, you may be entitled to seek compensation by filing a derivative damage claim.
Loss of society and companionship
Loss of a couple's intimate relationship is not the only loss stemming from a catastrophic car wreck. The day-to-day companionship and social relationship you had with your spouse can be decimated in an auto accident caused by someone else's negligent actions. In many cases, the bereft spouse has a cause of action to make a claim for loss of society and companionship.
The fallout can be serious and permanent
With time and aggressive treatment of the injuries, including multiple types of rehabilitative therapies, the damage suffered by one spouse in an accident may be mitigated. The injured spouse may never be 100% of what they once were, but their conditions stabilize over time.
Still, the losses caused by the accident can prevent the couple's marriage from ever being on equal footing again. The uninjured spouse may have, by necessity, become the injured spouse's primary caretaker. That can definitely affect the dynamics of the marriage irrevocably.
If your spouse suffered catastrophic injuries in an auto accident, you may want to look into the possibility of filing your own derivative damages claim. Just don't wait too long, as these cases follow very strict timelines for seeking compensation from the liable parties.