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Subrogation is a concept that's well-known in legal and insurance circles but sometimes not by the policyholders who hire them. Even if it sounds complicated, it is in your self-interest to comprehend the steps of how it works. The more knowledgeable you are, the more likely it is that an insurance lawsuit will work out favorably.

Any insurance policy you hold is a commitment that, if something bad happens to you, the insurer of the policy will make good without unreasonable delay. If you get an injury on the job, your company's workers compensation pays out for medical services. Employment lawyers handle the details; you just get fixed up.

But since ascertaining who is financially responsible for services or repairs is often a time-consuming affair – and time spent waiting in some cases compounds the damage to the victim – insurance companies usually decide to pay up front and figure out the blame later. They then need a mechanism to recoup the costs if, when all the facts are laid out, they weren't actually in charge of the expense.

For Example

Your garage catches fire and causes $10,000 in house damages. Luckily, you have property insurance and it pays for the repairs. However, in its investigation it discovers that an electrician had installed some faulty wiring, and there is reason to believe that a judge would find him responsible for the damages. You already have your money, but your insurance firm is out all that money. What does the firm do next?

How Does Subrogation Work?

This is where subrogation comes in. It is the way that an insurance company uses to claim payment when it pays out a claim that turned out not to be its responsibility. Some companies have in-house property damage lawyers and personal injury attorneys, or a department dedicated to subrogation; others contract with a law firm. Under ordinary circumstances, only you can sue for damages to your person or property. But under subrogation law, your insurance company is extended some of your rights for having taken care of the damages. It can go after the money that was originally due to you, because it has covered the amount already.

Why Do I Need to Know This?

For starters, if your insurance policy stipulated a deductible, it wasn't just your insurance company who had to pay. In a $10,000 accident with a $1,000 deductible, you lost some money too – to be precise, $1,000. If your insurer is lax about bringing subrogation cases to court, it might choose to get back its costs by boosting your premiums. On the other hand, if it has a capable legal team and goes after them enthusiastically, it is doing you a favor as well as itself. If all is recovered, you will get your full $1,000 deductible back. If it recovers half (for instance, in a case where you are found 50 percent to blame), you'll typically get $500 back, based on the laws in most states.

Furthermore, if the total expense of an accident is over your maximum coverage amount, you may have had to pay the difference. If your insurance company or its property damage lawyers, such as getting a divorce with kids Lindon ut, pursue subrogation and succeeds, it will recover your losses in addition to its own.

All insurance companies are not created equal. When shopping around, it's worth looking at the reputations of competing agencies to determine whether they pursue valid subrogation claims; if they resolve those claims quickly; if they keep their policyholders advised as the case goes on; and if they then process successfully won reimbursements right away so that you can get your deductible back and move on with your life. If, instead, an insurance agency has a record of paying out claims that aren't its responsibility and then safeguarding its profit margin by raising your premiums, you'll feel the sting later.

Subrogation is a term that's understood among insurance and legal companies but rarely by the people who employ them. Even if it sounds complicated, it is in your benefit to know the nuances of how it works. The more knowledgeable you are, the more likely it is that an insurance lawsuit will work out favorably.

Any insurance policy you have is an assurance that, if something bad happens to you, the business that covers the policy will make good without unreasonable delay. If you get an injury while working, for example, your employer's workers compensation insurance agrees to pay for medical services. Employment lawyers handle the details; you just get fixed up.

But since determining who is financially responsible for services or repairs is sometimes a time-consuming affair – and delay in some cases adds to the damage to the policyholder – insurance firms usually opt to pay up front and figure out the blame after the fact. They then need a means to regain the costs if, ultimately, they weren't actually in charge of the payout.

For Example

You are in a vehicle accident. Another car crashed into yours. The police show up to assess the situation, you exchange insurance information, and you go on your way. You have comprehensive insurance and file a repair claim. Later it's determined that the other driver was entirely to blame and his insurance should have paid for the repair of your auto. How does your company get its money back?

How Subrogation Works

This is where subrogation comes in. It is the way that an insurance company uses to claim reimbursement after it has paid for something that should have been paid by some other entity. Some insurance firms have in-house property damage lawyers and personal injury attorneys, or a department dedicated to subrogation; others contract with a law firm. Normally, only you can sue for damages done to your person or property. But under subrogation law, your insurance company is given some of your rights for having taken care of the damages. It can go after the money that was originally due to you, because it has covered the amount already.

How Does This Affect Me?

For starters, if your insurance policy stipulated a deductible, your insurance company wasn't the only one who had to pay. In a $10,000 accident with a $1,000 deductible, you have a stake in the outcome as well – to the tune of $1,000. If your insurance company is unconcerned with pursuing subrogation even when it is entitled, it might choose to get back its costs by ballooning your premiums and call it a day. On the other hand, if it knows which cases it is owed and pursues those cases enthusiastically, it is acting both in its own interests and in yours. If all $10,000 is recovered, you will get your full $1,000 deductible back. If it recovers half (for instance, in a case where you are found one-half accountable), you'll typically get half your deductible back, depending on the laws in your state.

In addition, if the total price of an accident is over your maximum coverage amount, you may have had to pay the difference, which can be extremely spendy. If your insurance company or its property damage lawyers, such as child custody lawyer Lindon ut, successfully press a subrogation case, it will recover your expenses in addition to its own.

All insurers are not the same. When shopping around, it's worth comparing the records of competing firms to find out whether they pursue winnable subrogation claims; if they do so quickly; if they keep their policyholders updated as the case goes on; and if they then process successfully won reimbursements quickly so that you can get your losses back and move on with your life. If, on the other hand, an insurance agency has a record of honoring claims that aren't its responsibility and then safeguarding its profitability by raising your premiums, you'll feel the sting later.

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