Q What does subrogation mean in my Virginia car accident case?
Subrogation is the manner in which an insurance company tries to recuperate money that it has paid out. Subrogation can take two different forms in your personal injury case in Virginia. One is related to your health insurance, the other is related to your uninsured or uninsured motorist coverage.
If your health insurance pays for your medical bills from a car accident and then you recover money from the liability insurance company (the auto insurance company for the person that caused the wreck) then your health insurance company may be entitled to "subrogate" the money they paid for your bills from the money you receive from the auto insurance company.
Virginia has an "anti-subrogation" law, meaning that if your health insurance policy is written under Virginia law, the health insurance company cannot recover any of your personal injury proceeds.
If you health insurance policy is written under federal law, specifically the Employment Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) then the health insurance company has a right to "subrogate" the money they paid out from your personal injury proceeds. Under ERISA the health insurance company is entitled to their money before you ever get anything.
Uninsured or Underinsured Automobile Insurance
Subrogation in this context comes when your insurance company has to pay you for your injuries because the person that caused the accident did not have any or enough car insurance to pay you for your injuries. When you buy an automobile policy in Virginia you are also buying uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. If your company has to pay you any compensation for your injuries, they can try to "subrogate" or collect money personally from the person that caused the collision.
There are other forms of subrogation but these are the main two that you may come into contact with a Virginia personal injury case.