For non-lawyers, insurance subrogation is often an incredibly complicated process that can leave you feeling cheated. Any time that you are in a legal battle with an insurance company, you can bet your bottom dollar that the insurance company will be represented by highly skilled and very expensive attorneys that are very good at getting money for their clients.
If you are facing subrogation by an insurance company after a recent accident, you need someone in your corner. When the insurance company comes after you, you need the help of a highly-skilled, experienced, and professional Atlanta car accident lawyer to protect your interests.
What Is Subrogation?
After a car accident, to make sure that their customers get paid quickly, insurance companies will often cover property damage for their customers, even when the accident was not their customer’s fault. This is okay because usually, the at-fault party’s insurance company will reimburse the other insurance company.
However, what happens if the at-fault party’s insurance company disagrees that their customer is at fault? What if the at-fault driver does not have any car insurance? In these situations, insurance companies have another method to use the courts to get their money back. This method is called subrogation.
Essentially, the insurance company of the not-at-fault party will sue the at-fault party under their customer’s name. They do this to force the at-fault party, or their insurer, to pay them back for the money that they paid for the accident and to recover their customer’s deductible, which they were not supposed to have to pay if the accident was not their fault.
What if My Insurance Company Wants to Subrogate on My Behalf?
If you were injured in an accident that was not your fault, and your insurance company has paid you for the accident, your insurance company will likely want to sue on your behalf to cover their losses. To do this, they will ask you to contractually “assign” all of your claims to them in exchange for money. This essentially means that you will sell your right to sue your insurance company.
There are pros and cons to this decision. The pros are that you get paid right away and avoid a lengthy court battle. The cons are that you might receive less than you could have. To decide the best course of action, it is best to speak to a skilled and professional car accident lawyer in Atlanta.
What Will Happen to Me if an Insurance Company Subrogates Against Me?
If you are the target of an insurance subrogation, you will normally be made aware when you receive a demand letter from an attorney who states that they are representing an insurance company. Sometimes, this demand letter will simply state, “Please forward this letter to your insurance company,” in which case you are no longer involved in the situation.
However, sometimes, for one reason or another, insurance companies will subrogate against you personally. You will know that this is happening because if you do not comply with their demand for payment, they will sue you.
The named plaintiff in this lawsuit will be the insurance company’s customer, but do not let this fool you. It is the insurance company that will be prosecuting the lawsuit.
What Should I Do if I Am Served with a Lawsuit?
If you are served with a lawsuit, your first step 100% of the time should be to contact an attorney immediately. Do not delay, because if you do not answer the lawsuit within 45 days of it being served on you, the court will likely enter a judgment against you in default, which means that you will have to pay them whether their claim had merit or not. And if you wait more than 30 days, you will have to reimburse the plaintiff’s court costs to avoid the default judgment.
If you are served with a lawsuit, do not panic. Simply contact an Atlanta car accident attorney to help you. A skilled car accident attorney in Atlanta will know what to do to represent you and make sure that you are not railroaded in court.
What if I Really Was at Fault for the Accident?
In some cases, the subrogation against you will be substantially certain to win. This is normally because there is strong evidence that you were at fault for the underlying car accident. If this is the case, you will have to pay some money.
However, you can reach a settlement with the insurance company to reduce the amount of money that you have to pay.
Your car accident lawyer in Atlanta will know the best way to negotiate with an insurance company. Sometimes this will be by convincing the other attorneys that their case is not as strong as they think and it is better to settle now for less than to risk getting nothing after a trial.
Other times, however, the other insurance company will be more interested in going after your insurance company than you because your insurance company has more money. In situations where your insurance company has refused to cover an accident, you can often negotiate a subrogation by getting the other party to drop their claim against you in exchange for you assigning to them any claim that you might have against your insurance company.
This agreement is beneficial to both parties because it allows you to get off the hook for payment, but it allows the other party to go after your insurance company for things like bad faith failure to cover your accident. To decide which negotiation tactics might be best for you, you should contact an Atlanta car accident lawyer.
Contact an Atlanta Car Accident Attorney
Whether you are being subrogated against or your insurance company wants to subrogate on your behalf, you will be well served by hiring a skilled and professional Atlanta car accident attorney to advocate on your behalf. Do not face insurance companies by yourself. Contact a car accident attorney in Atlanta today for a free consultation.