Do I Have to Pay My Health Insurance Back After an Accident?
If your auto policy provides for medical coverage, it is the responsibility of your insurer to cover your bills up to the limits of your policy. While these policies do not require you to reimburse them directly, they could allow your insurer to take some of the proceeds you recover should you file a lawsuit against the negligent party that caused your injury, such as the other driver in a car accident.
This process is known as insurance subrogation. Through subrogation, your insurer has the right to stand in your shoes in court and seek reimbursement from the at-fault party. Not only could your insurer file a lawsuit on their own, they could also become involved in your case, seeking a portion of your settlement.
While this process is frustrating, you do have options during subrogation. A Pittsburgh personal injury lawyer at Chaffin Luhana can represent your claim and negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf. When the insurance company knows you have an experienced and aggressive law firm on your side, they will be more likely to a fair settlement for maximum compensation.
What is insurance subrogation?
Subrogation is a legal right held by your insurer. This right allows them to stand in your place during litigation against the negligent party that caused your injuries. Under the subrogation provision in most insurance policies, the insurer could file a lawsuit against a third party based on the losses in your accident. While subrogation claims routinely involve bodily injury claims, it is also possible for an insurer to pursue subrogation for property damage.
The laws surrounding subrogation vary dramatically from one state to another. In Pennsylvania, state law prohibits subrogation in many cases. However, this limitation does not apply to HMOs or self-insured insurance plans. There are times when an insurance company could claim the right to subrogation even when state law prevents it. That is why it is always in your best interest to speak with a Pittsburgh car accident attorney when you are notified of a subrogation claim.
The subrogation process
Subrogation claims follow a typical process. Because of the nature of the insurance industry, these claims can remain idle for months or even years before the insurance company decides to act. That is why some insured drivers only receive notice of a subrogation claim months or even years after a collision. This is due in part to the amount of time it can take to resolve an injury claim. Insurers cannot move forward with subrogation until the claim is closed, as the total amount could increase.
Just like with personal injury cases, there is only one shot at recovery on a subrogation claim. If an insurer accepts a settlement below what the claim is ultimately worth, they cannot come back later for more compensation.
At the beginning of a subrogation claim, your insurer will typically notify both parties to the accident. If the other driver was responsible, they will send a letter to them demanding payment. This demand will be the exact amount they expended towards your losses according to the policy.
The insurance company will also notify you. Depending on the language of the policy, your insurer can proceed with the claim without your express permission. If you paid your deductible in the claim, your insurer might advise you of their intent to pursue your deductible from the at-fault party as well.
An attorney can help with the subrogation process
Receiving a subrogation notice can be unsettling. Worse still is receiving a letter that your insurance company intends to take some of the proceeds of your personal injury lawsuit. While your insurance company might have the right to do this, it is often worth discussing your claim with your attorney to learn what legal options you have available in this situation.
The right legal counsel could assist you with maximizing your financial recovery despite a subrogation claim. To learn more, schedule a free consultation with Chaffin Luhana right away.