How Do Subrogation Actions Work?

Category: Personal Injury

Article by Tuley Law staff

How Do Subrogation Actions Work?

If you or a loved one have been injured by another’s negligence and have filed a claim or a lawsuit, you may know about subrogation. Under Indiana law, when you suffer a personal injury due to another’s negligent behavior, you are entitled to compensation for lost wages, medical expenses, and related damages. This may sound simple, but proving negligence can often times be difficult.

What is Subrogation?

Legally, subrogation allows a party with no liability for your injuries – for example, your own insurance company – to compensate you and seek repayment from the liable party.

Even in the simplest personal injury cases, subrogation can raise some difficult legal questions, so having a personal injury attorney will be to your benefit should those questions arise. Your attorney should be able to explain how subrogation can affect your personal injury case and in what way it may impact any awards, benefits, settlements, or verdicts you may receive.

Compensation Following an Accident Caused by Negligent Behavior

In Indiana, the process of receiving compensation for a personal injury claim begins when you consult an experienced Evansville personal injury attorney. Indiana law defines negligence as someone’s failure to extend to another the “duty” of care that a reasonable person would extend in a similar situation – a failure that causes an injury.

If you are injured in an accident, you should seek medical treatment immediately. Once you are on the road to recovery, it is important to work with an experienced personal injury lawyer. The matter of subrogation may emerge when the details regarding your compensation are sorted out. It can be a complicated legal principle, but will be well worth your time.

What is a Collateral Source?

A non-liable party paying compensation to a personal injury victim  is referred to as a collateral source. It is often an insurance company and sometimes an agency of the government.

Here is a basic example of how subrogation works and the role of collateral sources:

Let’s say you are injured when you slip and fall on spilled milk at a supermarket. Your health insurance company compensates your healthcare provider with $10,000 for your treatment.

In this example, your health insurance company is a collateral source. The company now has the legal right to be repaid by the supermarket’s liability insurer – a subrogation right. Insurance companies want to know if paying for your treatment establishes a subrogation right and if a payment can be recouped.

Who May Assert a Subrogation Right?

The purpose of subrogation is to maintain lower insurance rates by allowing insurance companies to recover some of the payments they make. Health insurance companies aren’t the party who may have legal subrogation rights in Indiana personal injury cases.

Federal and state benefit programs for the injured and disabled almost always require repayment when another party is deemed responsible for a benefit recipient’s injury or disability. Subrogation claims are routinely pursued, for example, by Medicare, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and by most states’ worker’s compensation programs and disability assistance programs.

Why Subrogation Can Be Complicated

The concept seems straightforward, but subrogation can become extraordinarily complicated when a third-party product liability or personal injury lawsuit is settled outside of the courtroom. A private settlement may impact the injured victim’s right to continue receiving payments. It may also affect any obligation a collateral source has to make ongoing benefit payments. When a third-party lawsuit of this nature is settled out of court, any non-settling party has to be informed in advance of the impending settlement.

How a Personal Injury Attorney Can Help

Subrogation cases can be difficult to navigate. Having a trustworthy attorney at your side can provide peace of mind, as well as help to get you the compensation you deserve.

If you or a loved one have been injured by another’s negligence in the state of Indiana, it is important you contact the personal injury attorneys at Tuley Law Office today. Our legal team has decades of combined experience to assist you throughout the legal process.

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