What you Need to Know About Subrogation
The term “subrogation” is not well known among the general population until you are in a car accident. If you have filed a car accident claim with your insurance company it is useful to know what subrogation is and how insurance companies use it to recover some of their costs.
Subrogation is defined as a legal right that allows one party (your insurance company) to make a payment that is actually owed by another party (the at-fault driver’s insurance company) and then collect the money from the party that owes the debt after the fact.
Essentially, subrogation is one of the ways that car insurance companies recover money that was paid out in claims to drivers insured by them. It is usually necessary for insurers to pay out money for claims on behalf of the people they insure because it can take time to determine fault in a car accident but the injured driver who filed a claim may not be able to wait for payout. So the insurance company pays while determining fault and then seeks to recover those costs later through subrogation.
How does subrogation work?
In most cases subrogation is the last part of the insurance claims process. While insurance companies generally handle this process between themselves, your insurance company is legally required to let you know that they are entering into it.
What you need to know about subrogation
Most insurance policies require the insured party to cooperate with any attempts by the insurer to pursue subrogation.
If your insurance company chooses to pursue subrogation to recover costs they must also try to recover the cost of your deductible as part of the process, and refund it to you if they do recover it.
I am partially at-fault for my car accident. How does it affect my ability to recover my deductible?
If you are found partially at-fault for your car accident, the amount of the deductible you can recover will be prorated to the percentage of your fault. So if you were 20 percent at-fault for the accident and your insurer puts your claim into subrogation then you would be entitled to an 80 percent refund of your deductible.
We do not recommend signing a settlement with the at-fault driver’s insurance company before speaking to a personal injury attorney but if you do please be sure to read the fine print. The main reason is that some insurance companies insert a “waiver of subrogation” clause to prevent your insurance company from attempting to get reimbursement for money that it has paid out to you. If you waive subrogation after an accident, your auto insurance company may refuse to pay your claim because they will not be able to seek reimbursement from the other driver’s insurance company.
How can a car accident lawyer help with the subrogation process?
Your insurance agent can answer questions you may have about the subrogation process in relation to your car insurance policy but understand that their interests are different than yours. Your insurance company wants you to quickly accept an offer to settle the claim with the at-fault insurance company because they will not be reimbursed for the money they spent on your medical care or damage to your property until you do. It is in your interest to speak with an experienced car accident lawyer who can advise you about your legal rights BEFORE speaking to or providing any information to the at-fault party’s insurance agency.
If you or a loved one is dealing with an accident or injury through no fault of your own, you have enough on your plate. Let an experienced accident attorney fight for the full compensation that you deserve. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is five to ten times bigger with the help of a lawyer. Call the caring accident attorneys at Tario & Associates, P.S. in Bellingham, WA today for a FREE consultation! We have been representing residents of Whatcom County, Skagit County, Island County and Snohomish County since 1979. You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!