Subrogation is an idea that's understood in insurance and legal circles but rarely by the people they represent. Even if it sounds complicated, it would be in your benefit to understand an overview of the process. The more information you have about it, the more likely it is that an insurance lawsuit will work out favorably.
Every insurance policy you have is a commitment that, if something bad happens to you, the business on the other end of the policy will make good in a timely manner. If your vehicle is hit, insurance adjusters (and police, when necessary) decide who was at fault and that person's insurance pays out.
But since figuring out who is financially responsible for services or repairs is regularly a time-consuming affair – and time spent waiting sometimes increases the damage to the policyholder – insurance companies in many cases opt to pay up front and figure out the blame after the fact. They then need a way to recoup the costs if, when all is said and done, they weren't responsible for the expense.
Can You Give an Example?
You head to the hospital with a sliced-open finger. You hand the receptionist your health insurance card and she records your policy information. You get taken care of and your insurer is billed for the services. But the next morning, when you arrive at your place of employment – where the accident occurred – your boss hands you workers compensation forms to file. Your employer's workers comp policy is in fact responsible for the hospital trip, not your health insurance. The latter has an interest in recovering its costs somehow.
How Subrogation Works
This is where subrogation comes in. It is the process that an insurance company uses to claim payment when it pays out a claim that turned out not to be its responsibility. Some companies have in-house property damage lawyers and personal injury attorneys, or a department dedicated to subrogation; others contract with a law firm. Normally, only you can sue for damages done to your person or property. But under subrogation law, your insurer is extended some of your rights for having taken care of the damages. It can go after the money that was originally due to you, because it has covered the amount already.
How Does This Affect the Insured?
For starters, if you have a deductible, it wasn't just your insurer who had to pay. In a $10,000 accident with a $1,000 deductible, you have a stake in the outcome as well – namely, $1,000. If your insurance company is unconcerned with pursuing subrogation even when it is entitled, it might choose to recover its costs by upping your premiums. On the other hand, if it has a capable legal team and goes after them enthusiastically, it is doing you a favor as well as itself. If all $10,000 is recovered, you will get your full deductible back. If it recovers half (for instance, in a case where you are found 50 percent accountable), you'll typically get $500 back, depending on the laws in your state.
Furthermore, if the total expense of an accident is more than your maximum coverage amount, you could be in for a stiff bill. If your insurance company or its property damage lawyers, such as auto accident attorney Powder Springs GA, pursue subrogation and succeeds, it will recover your expenses as well as its own.
All insurers are not created equal. When shopping around, it's worth examining the reputations of competing firms to find out if they pursue winnable subrogation claims; if they do so with some expediency; if they keep their accountholders apprised as the case proceeds; and if they then process successfully won reimbursements immediately so that you can get your deductible back and move on with your life. If, on the other hand, an insurer has a reputation of honoring claims that aren't its responsibility and then protecting its profit margin by raising your premiums, you'll feel the sting later.auto accident attorney Powder Springs GA