No one looks forward to a personal injury case. Personal injury can result in lost wages and expensive medical bills, and severe injuries may limit or even eliminate a person’s ability to work. This can have devastating consequences for the individual and their family. Obviously, that means this is something to take seriously, and you’ll need to contact your insurance company.
When you speak with your insurance company, you may notice that they ask a series of questions. Some of those inquiries will be regarding the fault for the injury. How did the accident happen? Who was involved? These sorts of questions will help your insurance provider to determine whether or not another party may be wholly or partially to blame for your injury. If another party is at fault, subrogation action may be pursued.
Literally, subrogation means that one person stands in for another. In the legal sense, subrogation issues arise when one person may be held responsible for paying for the injuries of another. This may be when a coworker made a mistake and this resulted in your accident. That coworker could be held liable and be responsible for paying some of your medical bills. That could in turn relieve some of your insurer’s responsibility for paying your medical expenses.
A subrogation claim permits an innocent paying party to stand in place of the injured party, and thereby will be known as the “collateral source.” When acting as the collateral source, your insurer has equal (but not greater) rights as you do, being the injured party. Your insurance provider can then file a claim, and this could eventually result in a jury verdict, much as if you had filed a lawsuit yourself.
A collateral source will generally be a private company, such as your insurance company or a government agency. In making claims to an injured person, this collateral source is granted certain legal allowances. This includes seeking reimbursement for payments made on the injured party’s behalf. If your insurer has already paid for your medical costs, that same insurer may then seek compensation from a third party, who is responsible for your injuries. The collateral source is not allowed to profit from the subrogation claim, but can seek to recover expenses.
Subrogation can sometimes cause difficulties when a lawsuit is settled against a third party. Each state has specific laws which determine precisely what can be paid and what legal obligations are in place. Generally speaking, a collateral source provider will be allowed to settle some portions of their claim against the at-fault party. As noted above, this will be limited to recovering costs and cannot result in a windfall or profit for the company.
Government agencies can receive similar compensation for benefits paid, and it’s quite common for government agencies to pursue their subrogation rights. If you’re looking for the best personal injury lawyer in Lakewood Ranch, FL, be sure to ask about subrogation and how it might impact your case.