When it is Appropriate to Have Both Spouses Named on the Settlement Check

by Lisa C.

Is a personal injury settlement check made out to me and my wife if I am married? Don, Portland

It really depends on your personal injury claim. If the check is intended to your individual personal injury claim, then your name should be the only one listed as a payee on the check (if you have an attorney, your attorney will also be listed as a payee on the check).

If your wife was also injured in the same accident, she will have her own separate personal injury claim and her own separate check. You would not want to cash a check payable to both you and your wife that was for an amount that would be appropriate to settle your claim only, and then realize that you had mistakenly just released the insurance company from paying your wife's claim. If you and your wife settle your individual personal injury claims and want one single check for the two amounts combined, then both of your names could be on the settlement check. There isn't really any benefit to having one combined check over just taking two separate checks.

Another scenario in which it would be appropriate for both your name and your wife's name to be on the injury settlement check is if you were injured and your wife was not, but your wife made a loss of consortium claim. Since both claims were caused by a single injury, then both names can be on the check.

The same guidelines apply to the settlement releases. There is no need for your wife to sign the personal injury settlement release if you were the only one injured, but she would if the release is for a combined settlement or a loss of consortium settlement. If her name is on the settlement check, then she needs to sign the release, but not otherwise.

This article is written for informational purposes and is not intended to take the place of competent local legal counsel.

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