Splitting a Personal Injury Settlement in Divorce...

by Hannah
(Tampa, FL)

My husband and I are getting divorced in Florida. He was involved in a car accident in March of 2010 in my vehicle and now has a pending personal injury case. He is going to receive a settlement based on his condition. Because Florida is a 50/50 state, am I entitled to half of the settlement to recoup some of the debt that we have incurred while we were married?

Thank you for your response.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Splitting a Personal Injury Settlement in Divorce...":

Hannah (Tampa, FL):

Probably not. The personal injury settlement will include payments to cover your husband's medical bills. As a result you don't have a right to those amounts. Those medical creditors who haven't already been paid by insurance funds will probably have already filed a lien via "LOP's," or "Letters of Protection". Those were previously executed with your husband's attorney. If your husband doesn't have an attorney it is doubtful any LOP's exist.

Without LOP's the medical creditors have assuredly already contacted the insurance company and have notified them of their lien on part of the settlement proceeds. Insurance companies normally honor those liens and pay the medical creditors even before they pay the injured party. They do so out of propriety so they aren't later sued by the medical creditors.

If your husband's settlement includes additional amounts for his lost wages or out of pocket expenses directly related to the injury and his treatment, that part of the settlement amount will be paid to reimburse him for those amounts.

You don't have a right to your husband's lost wages, or even a portion of those amounts. Finally, any amounts paid for his pain and suffering are just that. Amounts for "his" pain and suffering, and not yours.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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