Information to Know During a Car Accident Claim

There are many complex terms and concepts in law. We don't think too much about them unless we go to law school or find ourselves in a situation where knowledge is necessary. "Subrogation" is one term that is important in car accident cases and insurance disputes. If you find yourselves having to deal with car insurance companies after an accident, you may hear this word from time to time.

What is Subrogation?

Subrogation, simply put, is an insurance company's attempt to collect benefits from the responsible party or insurance company if they've paid out benefits during a claim. In car accidents, subrogation can occur when a health insurance company wants to be repaid for the benefits they've issued to a client when a car insurance company pays out benefits as well.

Subrogation in a Florida Car Accident Claim

Subrogation can be a confusing, but necessary part of an accident claim. During the process of a car accident claim, the at-fault driver or the victim may have insurance to pay for the resulting damage. Sometimes, that insurance overlaps. A driver who has health insurance and car insurance available to pay for their accident injuries should give the hospital or doctor's office information about both of these policies.

In Florida, drivers are required to hold insurance that pays for their own injuries regardless of who is at fault in the accident. The law states that each vehicle owner needs to purchase at least $10,000 in Personal Injury Protection (PIP). Any additional medical coverage will have to be purchased in an additional policy, called medical payments coverage, or more simply, "med pay." In an accident, these automobile coverages will pay for injuries first.

If the injured driver has health insurance, they may be able to use it where car insurance falls short. For example, PIP only covers 80% of medical costs, so even if you only have a $1,000 hospital bill, your car insurance will only cover about $800 of it. If you have health insurance, you can choose to submit the rest of that balance to them and hope that they will cover you. 

Certain car insurance companies may also try to subrogate for benefits paid out under medical payments coverage. This sounds strange, since your Uninsured Motorist, Bodily Injury, and Med Pay policies are all issued by the same company, but subrogation for Med Pay policies sometimes occurs.

How Insurance Reclaims Paid Benefits in a Car Accident Claim

People expect their insurance companies to protect them in circumstances outlined in their policies, a concept known as "good faith." However, they don't need to pay for damages that are caused by a non-insured event. This is why health insurance companies typically want to recover paid benefits in a car accident claim. The driver's car insurance is designed to pay for the cost of recovery, so health insurance usually comes into play until the driver recovers excess benefits from the car insurance company.

The many optional car insurance coverages (such as Uninsured Motorist or Bodily Injury) may play a part in the same car accident, but be treated as separate claims. If your car accident was complex, you may have to wait a long time until all of them are resolved. You should know that your health insurance company may be able to recollect the benefits they paid out for your treatment if you receive a settlement from your car insurance company that exceeds the cost of accident-related damages.

How Can An Attorney Help Your Car Accident Claim?

Some of life's most difficult circumstances prompt people to call an attorney for help. An accident can leave you with complex questions and serious concerns. A car accident attorney can help you through this process by discussing the complexities with you.

Call 407.648.4940 or contact Coye Law Firm today for a free consultation about your case.

The expert injury attorneys at Coye Law Firm are experienced with Florida, New York, Michigan, and District of Columbia law and are here to help the injured.

If you'd like to learn more about injury law and your rights, read my book, Sharing the Secrets, Learning the Lies: A Guide to Florida Personal Injury

From this book you will learn… 

  1. The ONE THING you must do within 14 days of your accident (page 46)
  2. The two most important factors in determining case value (page 8)
  3. How to understand what your insurance will and will not cover (chapter 3)
  4. 6 critical steps you must take after an accident (chapter 7)
  5. Why you should not trust the insurance company’s repair shop (page 78)
  6. How to choose the right doctor (chapter 5)
  7. A claim you could make against your own insurance company if your car is damaged, but not totaled (page 87)
  8. The secrets to getting a fair settlement (chapter 10)
  9. An 8-step breakdown of the normal process for lawsuits (page 121)
  10. The one 4-letter word that might cost you (chapter 12)
  11. How to start gathering the most important evidence you need (page 75)
  12. …and more!

Click here to receive your FREE copy now.