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Subrogation: What is it and How Does it Affect My Case?

If you are involved in a personal injury lawsuit, you may have heard of the term ‘subrogation.’ Subrogation is a legal term that refers to an insurance company’s legal right under the contract to claim a portion of your personal injury settlement. When the harm was caused by a third party, the insurance company can be reimbursed for benefits paid for that injury. The idea behind subrogation law, in Nevada and other states, is so that an injured party does not “double dip” by getting paid twice for the same injury. In other words, an injured person cannot receive payment from the insurance company and the negligent party for the same harm. Not surprisingly, subrogation can significantly reduce the amount of monetary compensation a hurt person can receive for an injury.  

Nevada Subrogation Law

Nevada law regarding subrogation permits insurance companies to include specific language in their contracts with policyholders. This language permits the insurance companies to recover money paid to the injured party by another party. Under the law, a company has the right to “step into the shoes” of another party and seek a claim for reimbursement. After an accident a lien, or subrogation interest, may be placed on any judgment or settlement obtained by numerous parties — insurance companies, government programs, or medical providers. 

Oftentimes subrogation interests are asserted by healthcare providers as well as Medicare, Medicaid, and health insurance plans. That being said, many times insurance companies are willing to negotiate and reduce the amount they are willing to take to satisfy the subrogation lien. When the subrogation can be reduced, this allows for the injured party, who is also the insured, to end up with more money in his or her pocket. Keep in mind that individuals who do not receive a settlement in their case do not have to pay back a subrogation lien. Moreover, if you have not signed a release that interferes with the insurer’s right to subrogate, it can still pursue reimbursement from the at-fault party.

Types of Commonly Subrogated Claims

There are several types of claims and insurance coverage that are commonly subrogated in Nevada. These include:

  • Car accident coverage: If you are involved in a crash and you carry collision coverage, the insurance company pays for your car repairs no matter who was at fault. If another party was found to be at fault, your insurance company can subrogate any funds paid on your behalf by the at-fault party’s insurance carrier.
  •  Uninsured/Underinsured motorist coverage: A majority of car insurance policies have provisions for uninsured and/or underinsured motorist coverage. When benefits are paid under these provisions it is covering the at-fault driver’s debt owed to you. After payment, if you have not released the at-fault driver, the insurance company has a right to attempt recovery from the at-fault driver. 
  • Worker’s compensation claims: Nevada employers must carry worker’s compensation insurance to pay benefits to employees who suffer a work-related injury, regardless of who was at fault. If a third party is responsible for the accident, however, the workers’ compensation carrier has a legal right to subrogate benefits paid by suing the responsible third-party. The injured worker also has the right to sue the responsible third-party at the same time he or she files a workers’ compensation claim. If a settlement is reached with the third-party, the workers’ compensation carrier may subrogate a portion of the funds as reimbursement.

Contact a Lawyer 

Having an experienced lawyer on your side when your insurance company is pursuing a subrogation claim will help ensure you are treated fairly. The skilled lawyers at H&P Law have the knowledge and experience to ensure you get the best result possible. Contact us today.

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