Others have brought up the benefits that same-sex married couples may now reap across the country, including health insurance benefits, hospital visitations, and tax benefits. Few people, however, have discussed the implications and benefits for these couples in personal injury law cases.
Wrongful Death Tort Cases
To fully understand how this decision can help same-sex couples, we must first discuss tort law and wrongful death cases. Basically, tort laws are in place to protect people and help them gain compensation when they (or their loved ones) are the victim of unreasonable actions on the part of someone else. For example, if you’re injured on the job through no fault of your own and you can prove negligence on the part of your employer, you can bring a tort case against them to sue for damages.
Likewise, if someone you love is the victim in a wrongful death tort case, then you may be able to bring a case against the responsible party or parties. However, there are some limitations on who may sue in a tort case. And this is where the Supreme Court’s decision comes into play.
Even in cases in which the couple had been married in a state where gay marriage was legal, if an accident or wrongdoing occurred in a state where their marriage was not recognized, they would be left with no compensation and no recourse.
For example, let’s say that a couple was married in California but lived in Florida, and one of them was killed on the job in their home state. In Florida, only the decedent’s “survivor” may sue for damages, and “survivor” is very clearly defined in this case as being the legal spouse. Because – until just recently – gay marriage was not recognized in Florida, the surviving member of the couple would not have been able to sue because their marriage would not have been recognized by the courts in Florida.
Supreme Court Decision Give Couples Hope for Compensation
Now that same-sex couples are legally allowed to get married in all 50 states – and now that all 50 states must recognize those marriages – these couples no longer have to fear what might happen in the case of a serious accident or wrongful death case. While no one wants to think of their husband or wife being killed on the job or in an accident elsewhere, it is at least comforting to know that you will have some recourse if the worst does happen.
Whether you are affected by the Supreme Court’s decision to guarantee marriage equality or not, you should know your rights if your partner, spouse, or another loved one is injured or killed through no fault of their own. Call a qualified personal injury attorney in Los Angeles today to discuss your options.