Last month, an appellate court in Connecticut issued a written opinion in a car accident case showing how a plaintiff’s award after a favorable personal injury case can be reduced – sometimes unfairly. In the case, Marciano v. Jimenez, the court ultimately determined that the plaintiff’s award should not be reduced due to the right of subrogation, which may result in the insurance company seeking payment from the plaintiff for previously paid benefits.
The Right of Subrogation
After an accident, medical costs are usually incurred. Often, an insurance company, or some other “collateral source,” will pay for these costs. Later, if the injured party seeks compensation for their injuries through a personal injury lawsuit and is successful, they will receive compensation for these very same injuries.
Some of that compensation may be designated for the pain and suffering caused as a result of the accident, but other amounts will likely be awarded to reimburse the injured party for the cost of the medical treatment they needed following the accident. If a collateral source paid these medical bills, that party may seek reimbursement from the injured party. This is called subrogation. A recent case serves as a good example.
Marciano v. Jimenez
Marciano was injured in an auto accident caused by the defendant. He incurred several thousand dollars in medical expenses, but he only paid about $2,000 himself; an insurance company paid the remainder.
Marciano filed a personal injury claim, and a verdict was returned in his favor for $124,000. Of that amount, roughly $84,000 was economic damages – designed to cover actual costs incurred – and $40,000 was designated as non-economic damages. After the trial, the defendant sought to reduce Marciano’s award, based on the fact that he had only spent about $2,000 of his own money on the medical expenses.
Marciano objected, claiming that the right to subrogation that the insurance company has against him to seek compensation should prevent a reduction of the award. The court agreed and was not convinced by the defendant’s argument that such an interpretation could result in a windfall for the plaintiff if the insurance company never seeks subrogation. The court explained that in either event, one of the two parties is potentially going to receive a windfall, and it is only fair that if any party receives a windfall, it is the one who was injured by the other’s negligence.
Have You Been Injured in a Maryland Car Accident?
As in the case discussed above, Maryland law allows for the right of subrogation in some circumstances. Subrogation law can be extremely complex, and claims potentially involving subrogation should be handled by an experienced attorney. If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a Maryland car accident, you should immediately contact a dedicated personal injury attorney to discuss your case. Do not let a savvy defense attorney take advantage of you or your loved one; allow a dedicated personal injury attorney to handle your case. Call 410-654-3600 today to set up a free consultation.
More Blog Posts:
Plaintiff’s Pre-Trial Destruction of Evidence in Product Liability Case Does Not Result in Sanctions, Maryland Car Accident Attorney Blog, published January 3, 2017.
Head-On Collisions on Maryland Roads May Increase as Winter Approaches, Maryland Car Accident Attorney Blog, published December 9, 2016.