What is subrogation, and how does it affect my car accident case?

courtSubrogation is a legal procedure that usually happens “behind the scenes” in an accident claim. The most common claims that involve subrogation are those that require an insurer to provide uninsured or underinsured motorist (UM) benefits to an injury victim. Once the insurer has paid UM benefits to an insured driver to cover injuries, the insurer has the right to take the at-fault driver to court to get reimbursement for the amount the insurer has paid for the accident.

How Does Subrogation Impact a Victim in a Florida Crash Case?

Imagine you were injured in a car accident. Although Florida drivers are required to have insurance as part of the state’s no-fault system, the driver who caused the crash doesn't have enough insurance to cover the damages. You make a claim with your insurer under your UM coverage, which is used to make up the difference in your medical bills and accident costs.

Next, your UM insurance provider can subrogate the claim, legally suing the at-fault driver to recoup what it has paid for the accident. This claim is done without your active participation, but can involve you if you sue the at-fault driver as well.

Successful subrogation in a claim will depend on:

  • Responsibility. Insurance companies can only subrogate other parties when their insured clients aren't at fault for the accident.
  • Ability to pay. Many underinsured drivers don't have adequate coverage because of a lack of funds, making it not worth the effort to sue them. An insurer will have to consider whether the at-fault driver has the resources, income, or assets to pay if the lawsuit goes forward.
  • Settlements. If you accepted payment under your UM policy and have been offered a settlement in your accident case against the at-fault motorist, you're required to inform your UM provider in writing. The UM insurer must then decide whether it will agree to the settlement—giving up the right of subrogation against the other driver—or pay the settlement amount and retain the right of subrogation against the at-fault driver. Other insurance sources that made payments in your claim, such as health insurance, MedPay, Medicare, or Medicaid, could also have a legal claim against any settlement you collect from the at-fault party.

If you're struggling after a car accident, the injury attorneys at Johnson & Gilbert, P.A. can provide the guidance you need during your injury recovery. Simply fill out the quick contact form on this page today to schedule your free case evaluation.