Who Gets The Bill? Understanding Subrogation

 

car accidents can lead to the need for subrogationIf you have ever been injured, visited the ER, and billed your health insurance company for payment you know how complicated the process can be. Typically, your insurance pays for the cost of your injuries. However, there are sometimes when the insurance company may seek out more information about the injury. Let’s say you were injured at someone else’s home, or in an accident for which another may be responsible. The insurance company may want to know if someone else is fully or even partially to blame for the injuries.

You may be thinking why would the insurance company care? Aren’t they obligated to pay the bill? Often times insurance companies want to determine if a third party is responsible for paying and if it can relieve some of their financial obligations. This is an example of a legal term; subrogation.

Subrogation is a practice of law that goes all the way back to English Common Law. The word “subrogation” literally means “one party standing in place of another.”  Subrogation hearings are often the result of an injury or accident where a third party has paid for the recovery.

Why You Need a Lawyer to Handle Subrogation

The most common incidents of subrogation involve car accidents. In a car accident case, the injured party subrogates their rights to the insurance companies in exchange for an immediate payment by the insurance company for their bills, loss of time at work, and other areas of compensation.  The insurance company will then act as the injured party during the suit and receives their reimbursement from the liable party.

Subrogation involves an agreement between the injured party, the insured, and the insurance carrier that can affect your rights. It is important to have a lawyer look over all subrogation terms, especially where businesses or large amounts are at stake, to better explain your rights to you because it may affect your right in the future to file further legal claims.

Sound straightforward so far? Well, it can get a little more messy. When government entities are involved, you will also need a lawyer. For example, when someone is injured on the job, there can be multiple parties in the case. These situations could include the owner of the company, the owner of the building where the injury occurred and potentially a liable third party. These may also involve worker’s compensation insurance.

Subrogation is how the courts and law ensure that someone is paid only once for an injury.  The laws on subrogation differ slightly from state to state, but the principle is the same.  It can be confusing for anyone who is not familiar with this legal topic, especially if you are recently injured and overwhelmed. Because the act of subrogation removes an injured party’s entitlement to sue, it is important to get all the facts before allowing other parties to sue on your behalf as it will have a huge impact on the potential for compensation due to your injury.

Here at Miller, Miller & Menthe we have a great deal of expertise in these matters and can help advise you on your legal options related to any injury or potential liability. Our experience and understanding of the law allows us to tackle cases on both sides of subrogation issues, including small businesses and entities that need help assessing their liability and compensation options in civil cases. Let us put this expertise for work for you.

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