Unless you have already agreed to some arrangement, she would not be able to claim a certain amount for helping you. Is't that what friends do for each other without regard to payment. Now, if you agreed to pay her a certain amount for assisting you, you may have to pay her.
If you're not married, there can be no spousal support claim. (In theory, she could claim you were in a domestic partnership, but this is not easy to prove, and requires a prolonged relationship. And even then, compensatory damages that you receive in a personal injury case are usually not distributed in a domestic relations dissolution. Bear in mind that a lot of the money that you get from the PI case will likely go to medical bills and the like.
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Since you said she is your girlfriend she has no legal right to make a claim unless you signed an agreement. Feel free to give her whatever you want, but be prepared with alternate plans if she feels she is entitled to more.
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.
Absent a legal marriage there is no right of a girlfriend or boyfriend to ask for spousal support. There are however other theories. For example, you may have led her to believe that you would reimburse her for covering your living expenses (rent, food, utilities) and she may have supported you relying on your oral or written representations. There are certain equitable theories that give a person in your girlfriend's situation a remedy, although it is not going to be all that easy for her. First of all, it is very hard to prove oral agreements or representations. Her case will be stronger if she has something in writing. But oral agreements can be proven - it's not impossible, just very hard.
It is also arguable that her support was somewhat gratuitous, that she didn't expect repayment unless you recovered on your accident. So in part it was a gift. A true debt you would be obligated to pay whether or not you recover on your civil suit.
Probably the best thing for you to do when the time comes is to be open and honest. Shoe here what the recovery is, what you propose to pay her, and try to be fair. It is much less likely that she will sue you if she feels you have been fair with her.
The fact that you are even posting this leads me to believe that your relationship may not last long term and you want to know what she will do to you when you get your money and break up. If that is what is brewing really the decent thing for you to do is move in with a friend or your family and don't accept any more support from her.
Leading her on that you will pay her back and all along intending to bail on her does amount to fraud. At least be honest. Don't use her to support yourself if you are not sincerely committed to the relationship. It's just wrong.
A creative attorney can always come up with some theory to sue you. (Fraud, past rent, oral agreement, whatever.) And even though it wouldn't work in other cases, in a situation where it really looks like you took advantage of her - a judge or jury will sympathize with here and you may very well end up paying a judgement. http://www.portlandlegalservices.com
The comments by this author to questions posted on Avvo are designed to foster a general understanding of what might be the law governing the area of the legal problem stated and suggest what might be the approach to finding a legal solution. Under no circumstances is this author acting as the attorney for the party who posted the question or as the attorney for subsequent readers to the question or response and no attorney client relationship is being formed. This attorney's comments are not intended to be a substitute for getting legal advice from a licensed attorney. A reader of this author's comments should never act on the information provided in these comments as though these comments were legal advice and should always seek legal advice in a personal consultation with an attorney in their jurisdiction before taking action. The information provided here is not intended to cover every situation with similar facts. Please remember that the law varies between states and other countries and is always changing through actions of the courts and the Legislature.
Not unless you have some type of written agreement where you agreed to pay her a portion of your settlement or you borrowed money from her and agreed in writing to repay it.
Do the right thing, and pay her what she has spent on you. The two of you can sit down and calculate it.
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