Anytime you're the victim of a serious injury in Texas – whether as the result of a car crash, truck wreck, motorcycle collision, vicious dog attack, or any other type of catastrophic accident – you'll likely find yourself the target of a subrogation claim by your own insurance company.
As a Dallas-Fort Worth personal injury attorney, I know that a lot of injury victims are often confused and upset to receive a subrogation letter in the mail. After all, no one wants to think that their own insurance company is against them. Unfortunately, subrogation claims occur on a regular basis whenever an accident results in bodily injuries or wrongful death.
When accident victims come to my personal injury office, they're often confused about subrogation. I'll explain it here as I explain it to my clients.
If you're injured in an accident, like a car wreck caused by a drunk driver, you have a right in Texas to make a claim for compensation against the drunk driver’s auto insurance policy. However, it may take several months in order to settle this kind of claim (and therefore several months for you to recover any money from the drunk driver).
Since you can’t wait that long to go to the hospital and receive medical treatment, you must use your own health insurance policy to get the healthcare in the meantime.
However, your health insurance policy probably has a subrogation clause, meaning that since your accident was someone else's fault, they don't want to pay for it. In our drunk driving example, your health insurance will expect the drunk driver to pay for your medical bills (and so do you!). However, your insurance won't be patient and wait for the claim to wrap up. Instead, they'll send you a subrogation letter asking for their money back, in a way.
In legal terms, the "right of subrogation" is defined as the right of one party (your health insurance) who has paid an obligation (your medical bills) which should, by right, have been paid by another (the drunk driver) to reclaim that debt.
What to Do If You Get a Health Insurance Subrogation Letter
Health care providers such as Blue Cross Blue Shield, Aetna, and United Healthcare often have a subrogation clause written into their policies. These clauses promise that the insurance company will be able to recoup any money they spend on your medical bills if you're hurt by someone else.
If you have received a subrogation letter from your insurance provider, it's important that you get an experienced Fort Worth injury attorney to review the language of your policy to make sure that the right to subrogation is legitimate and correct. Often, the clause will deem the insured to have a legal obligation to pursue a claim for damages against the negligent party’s insurance and do whatever is necessary to secure the subrogated recovery. Not all subrogation clauses are equal, and some give the health insurance company more rights than others.
If you receive a subrogation letter, it is wise to seek out a board certified injury lawyer to help you analyze your rights. Many car wreck victims make the mistake of resolving their claims with the at fault insurance company when they don't realize their legal obligations to the subrogation companies. That is a mistake.
If you've been hurt in DFW and you need help, you can contact my office at 817-294-1900. I'm happy to set up a free consultation to discuss your personal injury case.
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