Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

Full Bio →

Written by

UPDATED: Jun 19, 2018

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about legal topics and insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything legal and insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by experts.

To understand what subrogation rights are, it is best to start with an example. When an insurance company pays out benefits to you in a situation where the other party caused the accident in question, you must subrogate your rights to the insurance company. This means you give the insurance company the legal right to sue the person who caused the accident to recoup the money paid to you for the damages. 

Situations Where Subrogation Rights are Used 

There are five different types of subrogation rights:

  • Indemnity insurer’s subrogation rights are the type of subrogation rights presented in the example above. The insurance company can sue the person responsible for the accident to recoup expenses from the benefits paid to you.  
  • Surety’s subrogation rights, another type of subrogation, refer to a person who paid off someone else’s debts being able to recover the money paid. In other words, if Joe pays off Alice’s debt to Tim, Joe can now go after Alice for the debt. 
  • Subrogation rights of business creditors have to do with trustees and trusts. If a trustee, carrying out trust business, doesn’t pay the creditors, the creditors can try to collect the money from the beneficiaries of the trust. 
  • Lender’s subrogation rights come into play when a lender lends money for a borrower to pay off a third party debt. The lender is subrogated to the third party’s rights against the borrower to collect as much of the debt as was discharged. In other words, the lender gets all the rights that the original person who was owed the money had.   
  • A banker has subrogation rights when the bank pays money to a third party to discharge a customer’s liability. The bank is subrogated to the third party’s former right to collect against the customer. Again, this means they get all the rights the original person would have had to collect against the borrower.   

In summary, subrogation rights have to do with a lender or the insurance company’s right to recover money paid out for various reasons. Subrogation, therefore, is basically a transfer of the right to sue someone to recoup losses.

Getting Legal Help

If you are concerned because you are asked to subrogate your rights by an insurance company, or anyone else, you should strongly consider getting the advice of a lawyer before you agree to anything.