When seeking medical damages in a personal injury case, it is important to have a basic understanding of how your damages are actually paid. Did you know that the compensation you receive from a responsible party for your medical expenses often need to be reimbursed to the health insurance company that made the initial payment? Many clients are surprised to learn that insurance companies can stake a claim on portions of a client’s damages in an effort to recoup medical expenses paid on the client’s behalf.
What is Subrogation?
Subrogation is a term denoting a legal right for insurance companies to be repaid for the bills they cover. For example, if you are injured in a car accident and have $10,000 of medical bills covered by your insurance company, that company can often lay claim to $10,000 of any damages awarded by a court as a result of the accident. When you signed your initial health insurance agreement, you probably agreed to allow your insurance company to seek repayment through these means.
You might not have to pay back your insurance company, depending on your specific policy and the terms of your settlement. Even if you do, you are only responsible for the exact amount paid by the insurance company — not the charges assessed by a doctor (medical providers often accept lower amounts from insurance companies than what they bill their clients).
Because subrogation is such a complex topic and has such a large impact on your settlement award, it is important to discuss your options with a Los Angeles personal injury lawyer before moving forward with your case. The personal injury lawyers at West Coast Trial Lawyers are well-versed in subrogation rules and can help ensure you get the maximum settlement owed to you without the insurance company keeping it all for itself.