What Is a Subrogation Claim?

Personal injury victims are often able to recover compensation through an insurance settlement or as a result of a jury verdict. The compensation available typically includes coverage of their medical bills, lost wages, and various other expenses they incurred as a result of the injuries. However, the process of recovering this compensation can take months or even years after the initial incident occurs. This often means that insurance carriers have to use a process called subrogation if they paid compensation to you before a settlement with the at-fault party was reached.

What is Subrogation in a Personal Injury Claim?

We want to examine subrogation from the standpoint of a personal injury claim, and it is essential to understand that this is an important aspect of many injury claims that occur in Washington. We also want to look at subrogation through the point of view of the insurance carrier so that you can understand why this process occurs in the first place.

Subrogation means that one party has the legal right to make a payment that another party owes and then eventually collect money from the party who originally owed the money. That entire sentence may be somewhat confusing, so we want to break this down into common steps related to personal injury claims and the subrogation process. For this particular example, we want to illustrate a relatively simple car accident claim, but subrogation also works with other types of injury cases that insurance carriers are involved in:

  1. You get into a car accident, sustain injuries and property damage, and subsequently file a claim with your insurance carrier.
  2. Your insurance carrier sends you a settlement check to pay for your losses, including your medical expenses, lost income, and property damage.
  3. An investigation determines that the incident was caused by a faulty part in the vehicle, and it is determined that the vehicle manufacturer is the at-fault party for the incident.
  4. Your insurance carrier could use the subrogation process to seek reimbursement from the actual at-fault party or their insurance carrier. 
  5. The vehicle manufacturer or their insurance carrier pays your insurance company back what they paid out in compensation to you.

Under the subrogation laws, the initial accident victim may actually receive additional compensation back. This would happen if the injury victim initially paid deductibles or other fees to the insurance carrier during the process of settling the claim. The insurance carrier will have to let the injury victim know if they are attempting A subrogation claim against another party. The carrier will be responsible for recovering any costs the claimant initially paid and then paying them back to the claimant.

Will You Need an Attorney?

If you or somebody you love has been injured due to the negligent actions of another, we encourage you to reach out to a skilled personal injury lawyer in Seattle as soon as possible. These claims can be very challenging, particularly when it comes to understanding how much compensation you will receive and who will actually pay. When your attorney gets involved, they will handle all communication with other parties. They will also thoroughly investigate your claim in order to determine liability. Your lawyer can help educate you on insurance claim payouts as well as the subrogation process.