In a case decided late last year the Pennsylvania Supreme Court visited an old and persistently nagging question. Are personal injury settlements marital property where the injury occurred before separation but the trial or settlement of the claim occurred afterward?
In Focht v. Focht, the husband was injured at a raceway in Leesport, PA in April, 1999. He and his wife retained counsel shortly after the injury with the wife raising a claim for loss of the consortium of her husband (i.e, his services as a spouse). A divorce action was initiated in early 2004. The personal injury cases ultimately settled later that year for a gross value just over $400,000.