How Subrogation Impacts Your Auto Accident Lawsuit


May 20, 2013

If you are injured in a Georgia car accident, you may have significant medical bills. While you may have insurance that pays your medical bills, your health insurance carrier may seek reimbursement after you have received a settlement or judgment. This type of reimbursement claim is called subrogation.

Many injured in auto accidents are surprised that their health insurance carrier would be able to make a claim against their personal injury recovery because insurance premiums are paid so that your insurer will provide medical care if you are sick or injured.

When you are involved in a Georgia car crash, your insurance company cannot wait until your lawsuit is resolved to pay the medical expenses associated with treating your injuries- they must pay them as they are incurred in accordance with the terms of your policy. However, your insurance company may be able to file a “lien” against your recovery and claim a right to reimbursement once you have received financial recovery in a personal injury lawsuit. Your insurance provider may be able to step into your shoes with respect to compensation in a judgement or settlement. The rationale behind a subrogation claim is that the insurance company would not have had to pay for the medical expenses except for the negligence of the other driver in your Georgia car accident.

Even if your insurance company seeks reimbursement, any amounts over that paid by your insurance for medical expenses will not be available to your insurance provider. Georgia law also limits the amount of any judgment or settlement that is potentially subject to a subrogation claim. The “made whole doctrine” provides that you must be compensated for all of your damages before the insurance company can be reimbursed from any part of your Georgia car accident judgment or settlement. Whether the made whole doctrine will apply to your situation depends on your insurance carrier. Large insurance plans that are typically offered by employers (ERISA plans) are not subject to the made whole doctrine.

Regardless of the type of insurance, there are times where it is possible to apportion the settlement funds to different categories so that the damages to which the lien is applicable are reduced.  We also many times can negotiate with your insurance carrier so that they accept less than they actually paid out for medical expenses. This does not change the amount of your settlement, but can assist you with lien reductions. Sometimes we can save our clients thousands of dollars by negotiating with the insurance provider even when they have a subrogation claim and have a lien in place. If you are injured in a Georgia car crash, our experienced Georgia auto collision attorneys can advise you of your rights including any potential subrogation claims. We also negotiate with insurance companies with such claims to maximize the net recovery by our clients.

If you or your loved one is injured in a Georgia car accident or your loved one is killed, our experienced Georgia car crash lawyers have been representing Georgia car collision victims with dedication and compassion throughout Georgia for 30 years. Our Georgia auto collision lawyers are available to assist clients throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

Category: Auto Accidents

Please Note:
Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.