Visitor Question

Can the spouse of the victim of a car wreck make claim?

Submitted By: A (Virginia)

My wife was hit by a drunk driver. Her car was totaled in the accident. She has injuries that have prevented her from working for a while. My question is, can I file a claim for distress myself? Can the spouse of someone injured in a car accident make a claim?

I am very stressed out because of this. I have to care for her and do absolutely everything. This is about to drive me insane. Thank you for any information you can give on the rights of spouses.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.


Dear A,

Unfortunately, in car accidents which include compensation for emotional distress paid to an actual victim, emotional distress is not vicarious for a spouse.

You may, however, have a legitimate claim against the drunk driver’s insurance company for your lost wages sustained as a direct result of having to care for your wife. Lost wages are considered legitimate costs in a car accident injury claim.

To have any chance of recovering lost wages, you will have to convince the insurance company’s claims adjuster that without your having taken time off from work, your wife’s medical condition would have worsened.

Moreover, if the insurance company believes your wife’s injuries are serious enough to require an in-house health care aid, you may be able to convince them you are just as competent, if not more so, to care for your wife as a health care aid.

Learn more here: Virginia Car Accident Guide

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney.

Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call 888-972-0892.

We wish you the best with your claim,


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