Previous posts here have covered the basics of negligence in a Washington personal injury lawsuits arising from a car or motorcycle accident. Those previous posts have focused on the way an injured person could attempt to recover damages from another person who had caused the injury through carelessness. However, as many Seattle residents are no doubt aware, the two drivers are hardly ever the only ones involved in the aftermath of a motorcycle accident.
The most obvious other parties likely to be involved in any discussion of damages are the drivers’ insurance companies. Because the law generally requires some minimum form of insurance, just about every crash is going to involve insurance issues. One of the main parts of insurance law with regard to accidents is the concept of “subrogation.”
Subrogation, in short, means to stand in for another. Under subrogation, one party can assert another party’s rights, or ask to recover some portion of payment due to their right of subrogation in an award. The idea is to prevent a party from “double-recovery,” such as taking an insurance payment and recovering damages from a tortfeasor, the responsible party, for the same injury.
In general, if an insurance company pays for a person’s injuries, it may attempt to collect the money from the tortfeasor itself by asserting the victim’s right to recovery. Alternatively, it may attempt to get re-payed by the victim after that person makes recovery from the tortfeasor. It should be understood, however, that the motorcycle accident victim has rights as well, such as the right to be made whole before having the insurer’s subrogation rights taken into account. Those with questions about this somewhat complicated area of the law may wish to get more information about the concept of subrogation.