An accident with an uninsured motorist may lead to an auto insurance subrogation suit. The right subrogation attorney in Arkansas can help you get the compensation you deserve.
What is Auto Insurance Subrogation?
When two parties are involved in an automobile collision, there are normally four parties involved in the claims process: the two drivers and their respective insurance companies. However, if one of the drivers does not have vehicle insurance, subrogation comes into play. Arkansas law mandates vehicle coverage.
Subrogation allows your insurance company to pay for damages normally owed by the other driver’s insurer and then re-collect the loss from that driver later. If the driver fails to pay, a lawsuit may be filed against them, and they could have their license suspended or their wages garnished.
What Does the Subrogation Process Entail?
While the steps in a subrogation proceeding vary by state, subrogation usually occurs near the end of an insurance claim. Most drivers cannot wait that long to cover their damages, so their insurer pays the cost before the claim resolves.
Under normal circumstances, you, the insured driver, would see little involvement while your insurer and the other driver sort out the details. Because your insurer does most of the work, it is easier for them to handle the claim and compensate you for the deductible than for you to pursue the other driver for damages.
How Does Subrogation Protect Me from Uninsured Motorists?
Even with the limited involvement consumers have in auto insurance subrogation, it benefits you to know what to expect from your insurance company:
- Your insurer must notify you when they decide to seek subrogation.
- Your insurer must attempt to recoup your deductible cost and pay it to you if their claim succeeds.
- Your policy most likely requires that you not interfere with your insurer’s subrogation attempt. For example, you are legally barred from signing any contracts that waive the uninsured driver’s responsibility if they are found to be at fault. If the uninsured driver seeks legal representation, be wary not to sign hidden subrogation waivers. Doing so may void your insurer’s responsibility to try to reclaim your deductible cost and pay your claim, leaving you to sort out the case on your own.
If it is determined that both you and the other driver were at fault, your recoverable deductible costs will be weighted against your fault percentage. For example, if you found to be 25% at fault, your insurance company can pursue subrogation and refund you 75% of your deductible.
Many auto insurance companies today provide uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage and are prepared to file a subrogation claim if necessary. When they pay for your damages upfront, they are paying on behalf of the other driver, from whom they can later collect the debt.
However, it is important to note that your insurer can only recover an amount less than or equal to the value of the other driver’s collateral assets, should he or she bear the majority of fault. If the value of their assets is less than the cost of your deductible, it can be difficult to reclaim the remainder on your own.
If this is the case, your insurance company’s subrogation attorney will discuss your recovery options with you, and most likely suggest a settlement.
If you have questions about auto insurance subrogation, contact McHughes Law Firm at 501-376-9131 to speak with one of our experienced subrogation attorneys.