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Personal Injury Compensation and Divorce

How much of the compensation received by one party to a marriage or civil partnership for personal injuries they’ve suffered should be given to the other party on divorce or dissolution?

This is a question that is currently being considered by a Court in a divorce case between a former soldier severely injured whilst serving in Afghanistan and his wife.

Corporal Simon Vaughan suffered catastrophic injuries in 2008 as a result of the explosion of a roadside bomb in Helmand Province whilst he was serving in the Army and was not expected to survive. Corporal Vaughan has been left with brain damage and is a wheelchair user who types into an electronic device in order to communicate with others. He received approximately £1.1 million compensation for his injuries from the MOD and some private insurance policies. Those funds were expected to cover the costs of his medical care and health needs for the rest of his life.

Sadly, in February 2013 his wife, Donna, left him and Simon is now living in the bungalow which was bought and adapted to his needs at great expense and reportedly only £200,000 of the compensation is now left in cash to fund his care. The Court is hearing evidence from Donna and Simon as to what proportion of the compensation should be paid to her to help her bring up the two children of the marriage. Some reports even suggest that the bungalow will have to be sold to help fund the divorce settlement.

Many people don’t realise that compensation for injuries suffered can be and is taken into account when considering a financial settlement on divorce or dissolution of a civil partnership. However, the ongoing needs of both parties to the separation and their children are also relevant factors when determining how much, if any, of that compensation, should be paid to the uninjured spouse or partner.

It will be interesting to see how the Judge, in this case, deals with the competing claims and balances Simon’s considerable needs with those of Donna and the children.

If you require Family Law advice, please contact a member of the team.

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