If you find yourself involved in an accident, you will be very thankful if you made the decision to obtain good insurance. Insurance can give you protection for things like medical bills, damage to your vehicle, and lost wages if you are disabled as a result of the accident.
If you have your own insurance, your insurer will typically pay all of these different losses on your behalf. But, if another party caused your injury, can your insurer do anything to get their money back? The answer: yes, they can pursue a subrogation claim.
Understanding Louisiana Subrogation Claims
If somebody pays money on your behalf (ex. your insurance company) for which somebody else is responsible (ex. the driver of the other car), they can “stand in your shoes” and bring a claim (called a subrogation claim) against the other party. For example, if your health insurance company pays $10,000 in medical bills as a result of a car accident, they can bring a claim against the other driver to recover the benefits that they paid.
Subrogation claims get tricky when you are bringing a claim for your injuries and your insurer is bringing a claim to recover money that they paid on your behalf. There will only be so much money to go around so the two claims will typically have to be resolved out of the same pot of money. This in turn can, though not always, mean that you will get less for your claim.
If, however, your insurance company chooses not to bring a subrogation claim or assert any liens, then you may be able to recover the full amount of medical bills that they paid. This is because under the collateral source rule, the other side cannot take advantage of the fact that you had insurance that covered your losses (i.e., you didn’t have to pay for those bills out of your own pocket).
Full Compensation Rule and Subrogation Claims
If you are less than fully compensated for your losses, there is an argument that the insurer should not be entitled to recover from the other party. This is often referred to as the “Made Whole Doctrine” or in Louisiana, the “Full Compensation Rule.”
To illustrate how it works, imagine a situation where you are involved in an auto accident and your insurer pays over $100,000 in medical bills to cover the cost of multiple surgeries, but the driver of the other vehicle only has $15,000 worth of insurance coverage. You would argue that you will never be made whole for your pain and suffering alone with the $15,000 payment so your insurer should not have any right to recover the cost of any medical bills that they have paid.
Call a New Orleans Car Accident Attorney
If you been involved in a car accident, truck accident, offshore accident, or any other type of accident, there will likely be insurance coverage issues and potential subrogation and lien claims. These claims can get extremely complicated and being able to successfully navigate them can lead to a significant increase in your recovery.