When you’re involved in a car wreck caused by a negligent driver, the immediate aftermath can have huge consequences for your life. You have to cope with medical bills – and you may need your car repaired or replaced so you can get back to your job and your life.

You may know that the other party is responsible for the wreck, and you fully expect to be compensated in the future for your losses, but what do you do in the meantime if their insurance is in no hurry to pay up? This is where subrogation can help.

How does subrogation work?

Essentially, this is where your own car insurance and medical insurance come into play, depending upon your coverage. Typically, either your car insurance or your medical insurance will cover your medical bills and the repairs or payout on your vehicle first, then seek reimbursement from the responsible party’s motor vehicle insurance.

Your insurance company will initiate the subrogation process by sending a demand letter to the negligent driver’s insurance company, outlining the amount they seek to recover. The letter will include a detailed explanation of the accident, the damages incurred and any supporting documentation they have that supports your (and their) position.

What are the implications for you?

The negligent driver’s insurance company may accept the demand and promptly reimburse your insurance company. However, they may also dispute the claim, leading to negotiations to reach a fair settlement. If an agreement cannot be reached, legal action may be pursued.

Once the other party’s insurance company accepts liability for your claim (or they’re found liable in court), your insurer will typically seek to recover their losses from any settlement you receive, since your medical expenses and property losses will generally be figured into the amount. That generally has to be paid directly to your insurer before the remainder of your settlement is released to you.

As a victim of a negligent driver’s behavior, understanding subrogation may be crucial to better ensure that you receive fair compensation for your injuries and damages. Seeking experienced legal guidance can help you navigate this complex issue with greater confidence.