When an accident occurs, in most cases, the driver at fault is pretty clear. Usually, it’s the driver who has hit another from behind or has broken a traffic law that resulted in an accident, such as running a red light. Where the damage occurs on each vehicle involved is another good indicator of who is at fault.
Occasionally, though, who is at fault is not as clear. In cases where fault is not clear, your insurance company will pay your claim, minus your deductible. The insurers for both parties will then send their own investigator to determine who the responsible party is.
If you are determined to not be at fault for an accident, then your deductible will be returned to you. If you are at fault, then your insurer will be responsible for paying for the medical bills and property damages of the other party, or in the case of having no insurance, you will be responsible for the entire bill.
The best way to avoid having to go to court and fight a subrogation claim is to have car insurance. The following information can help you if you find yourself fighting a subrogation against you.
What Is Subrogation?
Subrogation occurs when your insurance company steps in and sues the at-fault driver for damages in your stead. This often happens when your insurance company settles a claim you have filed with them pending assignment of fault in a car accident.
If the other driver is found to be at fault, your insurance company will then file a subrogation claim against them to recover the money that they paid out to you for medical bills and car repairs. In most cases, the insurance company for each driver handles this process, only notifying their clients afterwards.
What Can You Do if Subrogation Is Brought Against You?
In most cases of subrogation, your insurance company would take care of the claim if you’re found to be at fault for a car accident. But what can you do if you do not have car insurance? Things can get trickier in this case, but fortunately you do have some options at your disposal.
Legal Counsel: Sure, you can handle a subrogation claim yourself, but are you well versed in the legal procedures that court requires plaintiffs and defendants to go through? In many cases, there are certain steps you have to take when responding to a legal suit, including filing a pleading.
Unless you know what to do, you are better off hiring a lawyer to handle a subrogation claim against you. This is also important if you wish to file a counterclaim, because the timing of such a filing with the court is important. Competent legal counsel helps you avoid costly mistakes that can lead to you losing your subrogation claim in court.
Waiver of Subrogation: A waiver of subrogation is an agreement between parties to waive any subrogation in regards to a particular claim. A waiver of subrogation comes about when you and the other driver involved in an accident decide to settle with each other directly.
Many car insurance companies do not allow their clients to sign a waiver of subrogation and require their clients to notify the company before doing so.
Negotiate a Subrogation Claim: If a subrogation claim has been filed against you, you can always try to negotiate a settlement out of court. This saves both parties having to pay the costs associated with litigation.
This type of negotiated settlement can result in you paying less than what the insurance company is asking for. This is because lawyers for the insurance company get a portion of the money from subrogation claims that they handle and doing so out of court allows them to get their money quicker.