Opinion

Hergott: How search for a mate can land you in traffic court

The growth of the “dating industry” is an indication of how difficult it can be to find a spouse.

You can catch a glimpse by doing an internet search using “dating web sites” as your search criteria.

I think you might have to search “personal injury lawyer” to find its rival of paid advertising that fills your browser.

I count myself incredibly fortunate to have found someone who I continue to be excited about spending my life with who, I can only hope, feels at least somewhat the same way about me.

There are many people in my life who are not so fortunate.

For some, they thought they had found a life partner but the relationship faded and ended.

For others, their spouses have passed away.

Young, single folk seem to have it easy.

Sure, some might be falling into less than ideal relationships, but it’s comparatively easy to find a relationship when you’re at the beginning of your adult life, unburdened by the inevitable “baggage” that we pick up along the way.

By the time we get to be my age, in our 40s and 50s, we have all sorts of baggage.

Many of us have children, many of us are far less physically fit and attractive than we were when we entered our adult lives.

And all of us carry the emotional scars that inevitably shape us as we move through life experiences.

The “package” we present to prospective mates is a less attractive one.

Likewise, the pool of prospective mates is less attractive to us.

Many people never find that relationship that they’re looking for.

Those people have suffered a loss—the loss of the tremendous emotional benefits of a loving and supportive life partner. There is another loss—a financial one.

The financial differences between being single and having a spouse can be huge.

One obvious financial impact is that spouses get to share the expense of one residence while single people must each finance separate residences.

A study I found quickly online compared what a single woman would pay over her lifetime as compared to a married woman who earns the same income.

The study concluded that a single woman could pay an extra $1,022,096 (The High Price of Being Single in America, written by Lisa Arnold and Christina Campbell).

What if one of the reasons why your relationship has faded and ended, or one of the elements of “baggage” getting in the way of you developing a new relationship, is a chronic pain condition that arose because of injuries you sustained when a daydreaming driver smashed his or her vehicle into the back of yours?

Can you be compensated for that loss?  It is impossible to say with absolute certainty that your chronic pain condition is the cause of the loss of, or inability to form, such a relationship.

It is also impossible to precisely calculate the dollars and cents you have lost, and will continue to lose in the future.

The law requires a negligent driver (through his or her insurance company) to fairly compensate an innocent victim for all losses arising from that negligence.

This includes the very real financial loss arising from a reduced ability to attract a mate.

The cause and effect need not be proven with absolute certainty.  The amount of the loss need not be precisely calculated.

If the court (judge or jury) finds that an injured victim has a “reduced opportunity” to develop such a relationship, the law requires the court to come to a “fair and reasonable” assessment of the financial losses arising from that reduced opportunity.

These losses, and all other losses arising from car crashes would be avoided, of course, if everyone simply gave driving the direct and distraction-free attention that it deserves.

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