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What is Subrogation?

Subrogation is a legal concept referring to the process by which an insurance company, having paid out a claim for a loss or damage, assumes the rights and legal claims of the insured party against a third party that caused the loss or damage. Essentially, the insurance company "steps into the shoes" of the insured party to recover the amount of the claim from the party that is legally responsible for the loss.

For example, if you are in a car accident and another driver is at fault, your insurance company may pay for your car repairs and then pursue a claim against the at-fault driver's insurance company to recover those costs. This process ensures that the burden of the financial loss is ultimately borne by the party responsible for causing the damage, rather than the insurance company or the innocent party who filed the claim.

Subrogation is used to prevent the insured from recovering twice for the same harm (once from their own insurer and again from the party at fault) and also to lower insurance costs by holding the responsible party or their insurer financially accountable for the loss.

How can Avery & Associates Investigations help with a Subrogation Investigation?

Avery & Associates can be a valuable asset in a subrogation investigation, particularly in complex cases where determining fault and liability is not straight forward or when recovering from the at-fault party proves to be difficult. Here are several ways in which a private investigator might assist in a subrogation investigation:

  • Evidence Collection: A private investigator can gather evidence to establish the other party's liability. This could include taking photographs of the accident scene, gathering surveillance footage, or obtaining maintenance records in the case of faulty equipment.

  • Locating Involved Parties and Witnesses: Sometimes, those liable for the damage may not be easy to find. A private investigator can track down individuals or entities that have moved, changed names, or are otherwise trying to evade contact with the insurance company.

  • Interviewing Witnesses: Witnesses can provide crucial information about the circumstances leading up to an accident or loss. A private investigator can locate and interview witnesses whose testimony can support the subrogation claim.

  • Asset Searches:In order to determine whether the at-fault party has the means to pay for the damages, a private investigator can conduct asset searches to identify property, employment, bank accounts, and other assets that might be used to satisfy a judgment or settlement.

  • Background Checks: Background checks on the individuals involved can reveal prior incidents, claims, or legal proceedings that might be relevant to the subrogation case, such as a history of similar accidents or negligence.

  • Liability Analysis: Investigators can help establish a chain of events that shows liability on the part of the responsible party. This can involve analyzing technical data, reviewing safety protocols, and understanding the nuances of the situation that led to the claim.

  • Surveillance: In cases where fraud is suspected, or there are discrepancies in the reported damages, a private investigator may conduct surveillance to confirm the validity of the claims made by the insured or to investigate the behavior of the party at fault.

  • Legal Process Support: Investigators can serve legal documents such as subpoenas or complaints to individuals involved in the subrogation case. They can ensure that these legal documents are served in a manner that is compliant with local laws and regulations.

  • Court Testimony:If a case goes to court, private investigators can provide court testimony based on their findings. They can explain the evidence they have gathered and the conclusions they have drawn from their investigation.

By conducting a thorough and methodical investigation, a private investigator helps the insurance company build a strong subrogation case to recover the funds paid out to the insured. This expertise can be especially critical when the circumstances of the claim are contentious or when substantial sums are at stake.