What is the Made Whole Doctrine?
In some states, a legal principle known as the “made whole doctrine” applies to personal injury claims. It basically means that a victim’s own insurance company may not receive part of the victim’s settlement unless the settlement completely covered the victim’s needs. In short, the victim must be “made whole” by the settlement. Otherwise, his or her insurer can not collect part of its proceeds.
When you are working through a personal injury claim, you want to receive a settlement that completely covers your needs. Unfortunately, this does not always happen. When this is the case, you may be required to pay for some of your expenses out of pocket or go through your own insurance provider to cover these costs.
The made whole doctrine can be confusing and difficult to understand at times. Before you file your personal injury claim, talk to your attorney about the made whole doctrine and your insurance provider’s right to subrogation. Both of these issues may arise after you file your claim and receive a settlement.
Subrogation and the Made Whole Doctrine
Subrogation and the made whole doctrine are often terms that appear together. Subrogation is the process of one insurer filing a claim against another insurer on the insured party’s behalf. In other words, if you are injured in a car accident and your insurance provider covers your treatment, your insurer may then file a claim against the negligent party’s insurance provider to recoup some of the money it spent on your treatment.
The made whole doctrine can make it difficult or even impossible for your insurance carrier to engage in subrogation if your needs are not completely covered by your settlement.
Florida’s Made Whole Doctrine
In Florida, an insured victim may cite the made whole doctrine as a defense against having to repay his or her insurance provider after receiving a settlement. It is only if the victim receives a “double recovery,” which is a recovery that goes beyond his or her legally recoverable damages, that his or her insurer becomes entitled to exercise its subrogation right.
As an insured claimant, you need to notify your insurance provider of your settlement when you reach one. You may not settle with the negligent party’s insurer for less than your claim is worth to violate your insurer’s right to subrogation. If you drop your claim against the negligent party’s insurance provider, the made whole doctrine is no longer applicable to your claim.
Personal Injury Attorneys in Winter Park, Florida
For further clarification of the made whole doctrine and how it can apply to your case, contact Hornsby Law Group today in Winter Park at 407-499-8887 to set up your free legal consultation with a member of our firm. We can provide you with high quality legal advice and representation for your claim. Let us help you through this often confusing process and negotiate with the responsible party’s insurance provider on your behalf.