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What Is a Subrogation Claim?

Colburn Law

Understanding Subrogation Claims in Washington State

If you were recently involved in a car accident in Washington state, you may have received notice from an insurance company stating that they are filing a subrogation claim against you. Most people do not know what a subrogation claim is until after they receive these notices.

What Is Subrogation?

When you are involved in a car accident, the insurance company will investigate the incident and determine who was at-fault for it. Washington follows a comparative fault car insurance system, which means that a person injured in a car accident has three options for claiming compensation:

  • Filing a claim with his or her own insurance company
  • Filing a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company
  • Filing a personal injury lawsuit in civil court against an at-fault driver

Settlements for car accident can cover damages such as medical expenses, vehicle repairs, and pain and suffering. If an injured person in a car accident files a claim for compensation with her or her own policy, his or her insurance company will provide the funds and continue to investigate who was at-fault.

If the insurance company finds that the other driver was at-fault for their policyholder’s accident, the company will file a subrogation claim against the at-fault driver and his or her insurance company. If the insurance company finds that you were at-fault for the accident, you and your insurance company may have to pay for the settlement that the company had to pay out.

What to Do If You Face a Subrogation Claim

If you do receive notice of a subrogation claim, contact your attorney and your insurance company as soon as possible. Your actions after you receive the claim will depend on whether or not you have car insurance.

  • If you do have car insurance, your insurance company should handle the majority of the correspondence with the insurance company that filed the claim. As soon as you receive notification of the subrogation, report it to your insurance company. Your company should already know about your accident, and may likely know about your claim. From this point forward, your company will likely handle the subrogation process for you.
  • If you do not have car insurance, you will need to seek the assistance of a car accident attorney. The insurance company that is pursuing the claim will contact you to collect money you may not have – and if they discover you do not have the funds, they may drop the claim. However, some companies can engage in aggressive collection tactics. An attorney can help you protect your rights and discuss your options, such as whether fighting your subrogation claim is possible.

How to Fight a Subrogation Claim

If you believe that you are receiving an unfair request for subrogation or you do not have insurance to cover your claim, contact an attorney as soon as possible. The insurance company may have missed details about the accident when determining who was at-fault, and your attorney can assist you with fighting the claim in a number of ways.

  • Your attorney will have access to resources to conduct a full-scale investigation into your claim, such as examining medical records, surveillance records, and police reports.
  • Your attorney can help you perform tests such as accident reconstruction to support your version of events.
  • Your attorney can enter into negotiations with the insurance company on your behalf, advocating for your story and best interests.
  • Your attorney will have knowledge of subrogation litigation and have experience assisting other clients through the same situation, providing guidance when you need it.

If you need assistance with a subrogation claim after a car accident, consulting with a car accident attorney is one of the first steps you should take. Whether you need help lowering your contribution or fighting the claim altogether, an experienced attorney can provide valuable support.