What Rights do Same-Sex Partners Have if a Loved One is Injured or Killed in an Accident?

Same-sex relationships – more specifically domestic partnerships and legal marriages – have increased tremendously in recent years. Some states have embraced same-sex couples and supported their legal rights, while others continue to fight for what long been called a “traditional” relationship.

California is one of the states that has embraced same-sex couples, and has helped pave the way for same-sex couples in a domestic partnership to have the same rights as a legally married couple. In this post, let’s take a look at what rights same-sex partners have, and what that means if they find themselves in a position to file a legal claim.

What Rights do Same-Sex Partners Have in California?

In California, a domestic partnership is recognized by the state, and allows couples the benefits of:

  • Tax relief
  • Ability to make emergency medical decisions for the partner
  • Domestic relations law assistance
  • State spousal benefits (workers’ compensation, insurance, etc.)

Can Same-Sex Partners File a Personal Injury or Wrongful Death Claim?

Not all states allow unmarried partners the benefit of filing a personal injury or wrongful death claim. Fortunately, California is one of the few states that recognizes domestic partnerships and offers equal legal protections. Under California law, same-sex partners would also be able to take legal action if their partner is injured or killed in an accident, much like a married spouse would do. There are a few things to consider, however, such as:

  • Your (and your partner’s) legal state of residence
  • Did your partner have a will? Are you included?
  • Did you and your partner have any oral or written agreements concerning property or assets?

Because many of the laws relating to same-sex partners are new and evolving, it is important to contact an attorney and discuss your case before deciding to file a lawsuit.