After a car accident occurs, most injured parties will file claims with their insurance policyholders. Depending on the coverage, a policy may cover the resulting medical bills and property damage. Though many drivers can put the accident behind them at this point, insurance companies have more work ahead.
Insurance companies will seek reimbursement for covered medical bills from whoever is at fault in the accident — a process called subrogation.
What is subrogation?
Subrogation is when a party sues another on behalf of someone else. With car accidents, this occurs most frequently when an insurance carrier sues the liable party for reimbursement on provided coverage. Usually, one must have standing to sue, but subrogation laws help all involved parties be secure restitution.
Subrogation suits may also impact those not liable in an accident. For example, a party injured in a car accident receives $15,000 from their own insurance company to cover their medical bills. They then sue the liable party and receives another $15,000 payout to cover bills. The person’s own insurance company may file a $15,000 subrogation claim for the money paid by the liable party’s carrier.
Subrogation in Oklahoma
All 50 states have subrogation laws, and Oklahoma is no different. The primary difference is the “Made Whole Doctrine,” described as preventing insurance companies from recouping through subrogation until the claimant can be entirely “made whole” for all compensatory damages. This doctrine helps prioritize the rights of a victim as they recover.
Legal counsel can help
Those injured in a car accident are likely experiencing trauma and pain from their injuries. This stress may cause difficulty navigating a potential lawsuit full of confusing insurance law. Many have found that legal counsel experienced in car insurance subrogation law can help understand tricky insurance claims or prove liability. Those facing a subrogation claim may have questions about the process or need help deciphering questions asked by their insurance carrier.