After an unexpected accident, few people can pay for their medical bills or vehicle repairs out of pocket. While waiting for an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit to conclude, it is common for Illinois residents to direct payments through their insurance companies.
Once a settlement is reached, however, these entities may demand compensation for previous payments made on the plaintiff’s behalf. This process is known as subrogation.
Subrogation is a common term that you may hear throughout your injury case. Essentially, subrogation occurs when an entity—typically a health insurance carrier or auto insurance company—requests reimbursement for previous payments made on your behalf.
Personal injury cases can take a year or even longer to reach a conclusion. If you require life-saving treatment or need vehicle repairs quickly, you cannot always wait to receive a settlement. As a result, you may direct the payment to your insurance company. At the conclusion of your claim, you may need to provide a portion of your settlement to these entities.
For example, say that you are severely injured in a car accident and require emergency surgery. After the procedure, you receive a $15,000 bill. Not wanting to fall into debt while waiting for your claim to conclude, you send the claim to your insurance company, who pays the bill.
During your case, your personal injury attorney will take full inventory of your damages, including your medical expenses. He or she will include that $15,000 bill as part of your settlement. When you receive the award, you will still have the compensation you need to pay for your other damages and losses—you just need to give back what the insurance company has already paid.
Like many other processes, Illinois maintains strict rules and procedures regarding subrogation. For example, Illinois state courts may still enforce subrogation rights even if you do not receive full compensation for your injuries. Additionally, insurance companies may pursue a lawsuit if they do not receive reimbursement from upfront payments.
Subrogation actions are subject to a two-year statute of limitations. If the company fails to file the lawsuit within two years of the date of your injury, the court will likely dismiss the case. Facing a subrogation lawsuit can be a challenging experience, so it is important to know which payments must be made to the insurance company ahead of this escalation.
Navigating subrogation during an Illinois personal injury claim can be complex. In these situations, hiring an attorney can help. A Chicago accident lawyer can evaluate the full extent of your damages and explain which payments may be subject to subrogation.
Using this information, your attorney will fight for your maximum possible compensation and help you secure the settlement that you deserve. As a result, you can pay for the future costs of your medical treatment, reimburse any lost wages or benefits, and recover compensation for non-economic pain and suffering losses.
After your accident, seek medical treatment as soon as possible, even if you do not feel hurt. Once you are able, contact a personal injury attorney to schedule a free consultation and discuss your legal options.