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Is subrogation a factor in your insurance claim?

Sometimes those who have been injured in auto accidents may have to deal with subrogation rights with an insurance company. While generally this action is taken between insurance companies, occasionally the injured party may become involved.

Subrogation deals with the legal rights of insurance companies to pay out claims that are owed by other parties, usually another insurance company. The company that initially paid the claim must then collect its money back from the liable party at a later point.

In most cases, subrogation is the final step in an insurance claim. For some claims, it will never be an issue. When insurance companies pursue subrogation, they are legally obliged to inform their injured customers of that.

The insurance company's actions could affect you in a couple of ways. The terms of your policy require your cooperation in their attempts at recovery, so you can't waive other people's liability for your injuries or damages or otherwise release them or their insurer from their responsibility to repay the claim.

Also, if you had to pay a deductible, your insurance company has to try to get it back for you as part of the subrogation process. Sometimes, your deductible might be prorated if you were determined to have been partially at fault for your accident.

Because the concept of subrogation can get complex when there are multiple defendants or plaintiffs involved in accidents involving several vehicles, if you have questions or if you are asked to sign any waivers, you should always seek the counsel of your personal injury attorney. Otherwise, you could negatively impact your claim, or even have it denied entirely.

Source: DMV.org, "Subrogation," accessed Jan. 13, 2017

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