Is a Personal Injury Settlement Marital Property?
Sometimes, big life events come in pairs. You may be a victim of a personal injury accident around the time that you’re going through a divorce. You may wonder if your personal injury settlement is a martial asset and subject to distribution in divorce. Our Philadelphia personal injury attorney team explains.
Is a personal injury settlement subject to distribution in divorce?
Whether a personal injury settlement is subject to distribution in divorce depends on when the claim accrues. In Pennsylvania, if the party is injured during the marriage, the settlement generally counts as marital property. Even if the case is still pending at the time of the divorce, the funds expected in the future may be marital property.
Is a personal injury settlement marital if it is received before the marriage?
When the personal injury accident occurs before the marriage, the award is generally that party’s separate property. However, if the spouse who receives the funds mingles them with marital property, the funds can be transformed into a joint asset in the eyes of the law.
Personal injury settlements and equitable distribution
Even though a personal injury settlement may be separate or marital property, remember that in any divorce proceeding, the court has the authority to ensure that the division of the assets is equitable. They can look at the entire situation and decide what is fair. For example, there may be a situation where the funds are technically the property of one spouse, separately. However, the other spouse may have used their separate or marital funds to pay medical bills and other expenses that result from the accident.
It wouldn’t be fair for the court to place this burden on the other spouse without accounting for their contributions to the expenses from the accident. In addition, the court may consider the health of the parties when it determines a range of issues relating to the division of assets in a divorce. If a spouse has a personal injury settlement that accounts for lost income and pain and suffering, that may weigh against their need for an alimony or spousal support award.
What do I need to know if I have a personal injury at the time of my divorce?
If you’re going through a divorce around the time that you have a personal injury accident, know that the divorce may impact the personal injury settlement. Our Philadelphia personal injury attorney team wants you to know how to protect your interests. When you have a personal injury attorney near me, they can ensure that your personal injury settlement fairly accounts for your injuries and damages.
The best thing that you can do is keep a careful accounting and records of everything. Account for the expenses you have relating to the personal injury accident. If you receive a settlement, keep track of how the funds are kept and spent. If you do, you’re putting yourself in the best position possible to receive justice in all of your legal proceedings.
Have you been in a personal injury accident? Are you looking for a personal injury attorney near me? Contact us today to talk about your case.