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Can wife sue husband, if the accident is husband's fault and wife is a passenger? regardless of the insurance policy provisions.

Costa Mesa, CA |

I understand policies in California do not allow husband and wife, or members of the same household make a claim against each other. But I am curious if a wife can sue the husband for injuries caused by him in an accident in California, regardless of the insurance policy provisions.

Attorney Answers 8


  1. You need to speak with a California personal injury attorney regarding this issue immediately. Some states have what is called spousal immunity and prevent suits between spouses. Among those states, some have exceptions permitting suits in the event of motor vehicle negligence. A California attorney will be able to answer this question for you.


  2. Call a local personal injury attorney and ask them. There could be specific California exceptions to your insurance policy language.

    Good luck.

    DISCLAIMER: David J. McCormick is licensed to practice law in the State of Wisconsin and this answer is being provided for informational purposes only because the laws of your jurisdiction may differ. This answer based on general legal principles and is not intended for the purpose of providing specific legal advice or opinions. Under no circumstances does this answer constitute the establishment of an attorney-client relationship.


  3. Great advice from Mr. Hinnant.

    There is a difference between a suit and recovery. You can try to sue anyone you want. The real issue is who is going to pay? In your situation, even if the lawsuit survives, the carrier will be allowed off the claim because oftheir policy language.

    In Colorado -- where I am licensed and practice personal injury law -- it would never work.

    Good luck.

    In no way am I offering you legal advice, and in no way has my comment created an attorney-client relationship. You are not to rely upon my note above in any way, but insted need to sit down with counsel and share all relevant facts before receiving fully-informed legal advice. If you want to be completely sure of your rights, you must sit down with an experienced criminal defense attorney to be fully aware of your rights.


  4. A great question to show how the law can differ from State to State. If CA is like Colorado, as one responder noted a spouse can not sue another spouse for personal injury. In NY, there is no such prohibition but, what is universally true in all the States is that if there is no insurance coverage, then as a practical matter, what is the benefit of bringing a claim ?! In NY, auto insurance excludes coverage for claims brought by one spouse against another except where the policy in question includes a Rider for Spousal Coverage/Protection (available for an extra fee, of course).


  5. You can sue, no ins coverage. Talk to a family law atty about what assets would be available to collect from if you win.


  6. State laws vary, but have one of the above lawyers in your state investigate.


  7. Most personal injury attorneys offer a free consultation for prospective clients. An Orange County accident lawyer can go over the details of your specific case and give you legal advice directly.

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