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Subrogation and Personal Injury Law

What is subrogation, and how does it affect my personal injury case? This is an important question if you have been injured in an accident and have filed a personal injury lawsuit.

For example, let's say that you are in a car accident. You sustain injuries as a result of that car accident. Even though the car accident was not your fault, it is your car insurance company that pays for your medical bills that are reasonable, related and necessary to treat your injuries that you received in the car accident. The provision of your car insurance for this is personal injury protection (PIP).

Let's now assume that you were not at fault for the car accident. A third party was at fault for the car accident. You file a personal injury lawsuit against the third party at fault for the car accident, and you win the personal injury lawsuit.

One of the things that you are awarded is recovery of your medical expenses. This is in spite of the fact that they have already been paid by your car insurance company under the personal injury protection provision of your insurance. This sounds great. This is going to put extra money in your pocket. Then you hear about something that is called subrogation.

What is Subrogation?

So, what is subrogation, and how does it affect your personal injury case? Subrogation is defined as, "the substitution of one person in the place of another with reference to a lawful claim, demand, or right, so that he or she who is substituted succeeds to the rights of the other in relation to the debt or claim, and its rights, remedies, or securities.

What does subrogation mean for your injury case?

In simple language, what does this mean for your personal injury case? How does this affect your personal injury lawsuit? Let's go back to the example. Your car insurance company will now put in a subrogation claim for the part of your damages that were awarded by the court for your medical expenses.

If you are like most people, you have not read nor are you aware of the subrogation provision of your car insurance policy. Your car insurance company is permitted to try and get reimbursement for your medical expenses that it has paid.

The idea is this. Your car insurance company paid for your medical expenses that were caused by a third party that was at fault for the car accident. Therefore, if you are awarded money from that third party, the part of that money that represents your medical expenses should now go to your car insurance company as reimbursement for those medical expenses.

"Hold on a minute," you say. "What have I been paying insurance premiums for. This is not right. This is not fair." You will be glad to know that there are exceptions to claims of subrogation. In order to achieve the best possible result for your personal injury case, you really ought to have a personal injury attorney fighting for you, especially when it comes to the matter of subrogation.