In the days following your spouse’s injury in something such as a car wreck, your immediate concern was probably whether he would get through it and what any long-term consequences might be. By now, the dust has settled, your spouse has been home for a while and is still in a lot of pain grappling with injuries. You worry about his mental and emotional health and about keeping your family together. Further, the loss of your spouse’s income plus the medical bills mean that your family is financially struggling.
It would help greatly if your spouse was willing to at least speak with a lawyer about the possibility of filing a lawsuit. However, he does not seem interested. What can you do?
Try to uncover the reasons
It could be that your spouse knows perfectly well why he does not want to talk with a lawyer. On the other hand, he may be saying, “No,” without being able to define what is driving his reluctance. Either way, see if any of the following could explain what is going on:
- Fear that a lawyer costs a lot of money
- Fear to potentially admit the severity of his injuries and that life has changed drastically
- Denial of the seriousness of the situation
- Thoughts that everything will get better very soon
- An aversion to lawsuits
- Misconceptions about the legal process
It could be a combination of these or something else.
Once you have the reason(s), you can start to clarify the situation for your spouse or reassure him. For example, take a misconception. Your spouse may believe there is no point speaking with a lawyer because he did some things to contribute to the wreck. The reality is that Florida uses comparative fault to award damages. Your spouse could be found 40 percent responsible and still recover 60 percent of his total damages.
Similarly, suppose that the reason is fear of lawyer costs. Many lawyers offer free consultations, and for personal injury cases, tend to require no payment up front. They take a portion of the final recovery as payment. An aversion to lawsuits may result from a well-funded misinformation campaign from insurance companies and big business. They don’t want to compensate victims, so they manufactured stories of ambulance-chasing and outlandish jury results to discourage people from seeking justice. Getting into an accident is not a good thing. No one sues for compensation to get rich. Lawsuits are to get properly compensated for what you have lost.