Legal Question in Personal Injury in North Carolina

Medical Insurance Subrogation rights (cont.)

Specifics on earlier question about Medical Insurance Subrogation rights.

Hit head on by a driver that entered my lane. Suffered a broken leg that required surgery, hairline crack in knee of other leg, hairline crack in vertebrae, lacerated liver and was 6 months pregnant at the time. The other driver had a suspended license and no insurance. I was immobile for 4 months. My spouse had to carry me around, pull me up the stairs in a sheet or get neighbors or friends to help. The baby was born a month early and I had to deliver while still in a cast. I could not carry my baby around nor care for the baby alone for almost 1 months.

Medical bills $60K in addition to other expenses and lost wages. The UnI motorist policy is $50K. My medical insurance co. (has subrogation rights per the policy) placed a lien on any proceeds from this policy. This does not seem to be the intent of the law. An attorney will only take more of any settlement. What should I do? I would just as well not accept a settlement than to perpetuate this unscrupulous action and ill intended laws. Can I do this and not have the insurance co. take action anyway? Are there some legal ethics/guidelines that help control this type of thing?

Asked on 7/23/06, 10:45 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

John Kirby Law Offices of John M. Kirby
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Re: Medical Insurance Subrogation rights (cont.)

Either your medical insurance policy has subrogation rights or it does not. Even if the policy states that it has such rights, you need to consult an attorney to determine whether those purported rights are valid. North Carolina has an anti-subrogation rule, which applies in many instances, even if the policy states to the contrary. If there are no valid subrogation rights, then you may have plenty of options, including accepting the settlement money or instituting a lawsuit to legally determine the rights to the proceeds. If those subrogation rights are valid, then you may in fact have no recourse, notwithstanding any unfairness of the situation. There are statutes, regulations, and common law that address your legal rights, and it is difficult for a non-lawyer to accurately analyze your situation.

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7/23/06, 11:30 pm
George Lennon Lennon, Camak & Bertics, PLLC
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Re: Medical Insurance Subrogation rights (cont.)

Let's see if I've got this straight. You're willing to risk the entire amount out of fear that you might have to pay an attorney some of it. There is a better approach.

I suggest you just hire an experienced personal injury attorney on an HOURLY BASIS to evaluate the subrogation claim, then decide what to do.

Good luck.

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7/24/06, 1:57 pm

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