Hi, my name is Tim Rayne, and I’m a Pennsylvania Personal Injury Attorney. Today’s legal tip answers the question, “What is subrogation and how does it affect my accident case in Pennsylvania?” Subrogation is a right of somebody who has made a payment to you or on your behalf, to recover the money back from you in the event that you assert a legal claim. In the personal injury arena, subrogation can affect your case because it can result in you having to pay money out of your settlement or your verdict back to somebody else.
It usually arises in situations involving worker’s compensation, health insurance, disability insurance, Medicare or other government benefits. Essentially what happens is that because you have been injured in an accident, you receive benefits from one of these agencies or companies. Those benefits are paid on your behalf for your medical bills or for your lost wages and they benefit you. What happens in turn is that these agencies or companies often have a contract or a law that says in the event that you recover compensation, you have to pay them back, either all or a portion of the benefits that they paid on your behalf.
For example, in the worker’s compensation situation, if you’re injured in an accident at work, worker’s compensation will pay for your medical bills and they’ll pay part of your lost wages. The worker’s compensation law in Pennsylvania says that in the event that you pursue a lawsuit and recover money for your injuries, workers compensation has a right of subrogation to get back a portion of the benefits that it paid on your behalf.
There’s a similar law relating to Medicare and other government benefits, and often times your health insurance contract will have a subrogation provision in it that provides for repayment in the event that you get a settlement or a verdict in a personal injury case.
So that’s how subrogation affects your personal injury case in Pennsylvania. It potentially creates a legal right of someone else to be paid money back out of your settlement. It’s important that your attorney understands this issue and addresses this issue in order to protect your legal rights.