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How Getting into a Car Wreck Can Lead to Divorce
You might not think that car accidents relate to divorce. But a car accident, particularly one involving injuries, can stress a marriage and lead to divorce.
Of course, this does not necessarily mean that a car accident alone will cause you and your spouse to break up. But it can introduce problems into the marriage that, if left unresolved, can drive a wedge between you and your spouse.
Here are some of the consequences of a car wreck that can lead to divorce.
Reasons People Get Divorced
Couples divorce for many reasons. In one study, the top ten reasons couples gave for divorcing included:
These issues create a gulf between partners. Sometimes the couple can resolve their differences and continue in the marriage. But if the couple cannot solve their problems, sometimes divorce is the best resolution for both spouses.
What Happens in a Divorce?
Divorce ends a married couple’s legal rights and obligations and returns each spouse to single status.
To initiate a divorce, one or both spouses file a divorce petition with the court. The court resolves the legal issues and dissolves the marriage. The four issues addressed in most divorce judgments include:
The legal rights and obligations in the divorce decree replace those imposed by marriage. If either of the ex-spouses fails to comply with the divorce judgment, a judge can hold the non-compliant party in contempt of court.
The Dissolution Solution
Many researchers have studied whether divorce makes ex-spouses happier. There is no universal answer because it depends on the marriage, the marital problems, and the spouses’ approach to post-marriage.
Divorce is often the best solution for some problems, such as domestic violence or substance abuse. For most other problems, three factors predict whether the couple can overcome their differences and remain married:
Deep attachment as a partner
Money problems, for example, often do not directly cause divorces. But they can reduce one spouse’s attraction and attachment to the other, particularly if stress from the problems changes the spouse’s personality.
Thus, money problems can cause someone to become irritable, angry, depressed, or distant. And these personality changes, as much as the problems, can lead to a decline in attraction and attachment.
When this decline happens, divorce often becomes inevitable.
The Consequences of Car Crashes
Car accidents can have life-changing consequences. For many people, having their spouse by their side after a car accident can help them get through the physical, emotional, and financial changes they face. For others, these changes can drive the spouses apart.
A car accident could create the conditions for five of the top ten causes of divorce. Health problems, money problems, arguments, domestic violence, and substance use can all flow from difficulties after a car accident. Some of the consequences of a car accident that could affect your marriage include:
The health problems you face after a car accident could stress you and your spouse, leading to marital problems. In 2020, Florida had over 341,000 car accidents. Of these, 42% caused at least one injury.
The injuries resulting from these crashes included:
In 2020, 7.4% of crash injuries were incapacitating. An incapacitating injury requires treatment at a hospital. But because of the nature of the injury, the accident victim requires an ambulance for transportation.
Incapacitating injuries include:
Incapacitating injuries do not necessarily mean that you will have permanent disabilities. But they will probably require a hospital stay and an extended recovery.
In 2020, 92.6% of crash injuries were either minor or suspected injuries. Minor injuries include visible injuries that do not require an ambulance, such as:
Suspected injuries include complaints of pain without any visible injury. Strains, sprains, torn cartilage, headache, and dizziness get classified as suspected injuries.
Emotional injuries after a car accident can result from many causes. If your injury caused a temporary or permanent disability, you might feel depressed. This depression can cause you to become withdrawn.
A traumatic accident can cause PTSD. Anxiety and PTSD result from your brain’s fight-or-flight response. After trauma, your brain recalibrates to protect you from another accident. As a result, you become hypersensitive to triggers that remind your brain of your accident. Some symptoms of PTSD include:
Nightmares and flashbacks
Detaching from friends and family
These symptoms can create many of the problems that break marriages. You might turn to drugs or alcohol to treat your symptoms. You might become argumentative or even violent.
If you get blamed for an accident, you could get sued for the damages you caused. These damages include:
Your liability insurance policy will cover losses up to the policy limits. But if your policy fails to cover all of the losses, accident victims can go after your assets. As a result, an accident victim could:
Garnish your wages
Levy your bank accounts
Have the sheriff’s office seize and auction your property
You could face financial losses even if you do not get blamed for the accident. After an accident, you may need to repair or replace a damaged vehicle and pay for medical treatment. But your injuries might prevent you from working. This places an enormous burden on your spouse.
Medical bills alone could destroy your family’s finances. Medical bills play a role in as many as 40% of bankruptcies.
Car Accidents and Divorces
A car accident, by itself, cannot cause a divorce. But it can expose underlying problems in your marriage. It can also stress both spouses, leading to personality and relationship changes that cause divorce.