You are in a car accident in West Virginia, are hurt and decide not to hire a lawyer. The insurance company said you don’t need a lawyer and you reluctantly agreed. You settle your claim for an amount which is less than you feel you are entitled to, but want to get it over with.
You sign all the insurance company’s documents for your car accident without consulting an attorney and wait for your settlement check. When it arrives, the check is either less than the amount you agreed to or another party’s name is on the check.
Wait a minute you think, “I was the one hurt in the accident, why are these other people entitled to part of my settlement?” It is called subrogation and if you had hired an attorney, he could have explained it to you and protected your interest.
So what is subrogation? Subrogation is the right of a party to recover from a third party for payments made on your behalf, usually for medical bills. For example, you have health insurance or medical payment provisions on your auto insurance which paid medical bills from your car accident. Since these insurance companies paid these medical bills, under you health insurance policy or your automobile policy, they are entitled to be paid back or subrogated. If you have either medicare or medicaid, then it is the government that will be seeking to be paid back for medical bills which they paid on your behalf.
The law and policy governing subrogation can be complicated and confusing and you need to speak to an experienced attorneys who primarily does personal injury cases. Whether a subrogation issue exists and how it can affect your settlement must be considered early on in your case. Do not delay, call an attorney with experience in dealing with subrogation issues to ensure that you can keep the most of your settlement.