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How Long Does an Insurance Company Have to Subrogate?

The Law Office of Stephen Barker Oct. 12, 2023

Word Subrogation besides gavel and glassesSubrogation is a significant process that allows insurance companies to recover costs paid out in claims by pursuing payments from other parties that are responsible for the damages. Though it may seem like a straightforward process, subrogation can be complex. For instance, insurance companies must initiate subrogation procedures as early as possible. There are specific deadlines set in place for them to obtain the payments from other parties. 

So, how long does an insurance company actually have to subrogate, and why is timing critical in the subrogation process?  

Whether you have questions about subrogation or need legal representation, it’s important to reach out to knowledgeable and detail-oriented counsel. Contact our firm in Boca Raton, Florida, and set up a consultation. Our subrogation advocate serves the entire state of Florida and has been doing so for more than fifteen years. 

The Subrogation Process & Subrogation Time Limits

Insurance companies don’t have forever to make a subrogation claim. While the statutory limitations period can vary depending on the type of subrogation claim made—and in which jurisdiction it is made—the standard statute of limitations ranges from one to six years. In some states, the deadline may be even shorter. In Florida, the most common statutory deadline was recently reduced from four to two years for most negligence actions (see below). 

For more context here, it’s crucial to understand the steps involved in the process, from start to finish. First, one party (typically an insurance provider) identifies a potential claim on behalf of its insured party who has suffered a loss due to the actions of another party, typically when the insured party is not responsible for the loss. By paying out on the claim to its insured, the insurer becomes subrogated, meaning it is entitled to pursue the liable party for monetary damages to reimburse or offset the cost of the claim paid out to its policyholder. 

The simplest form of a time impediment to subrogation is the above-referenced statute of limitations - where the insurance company fails to initiate subrogation proceedings before the deadline set by the statute of limitations, the case may not be pursued and is forever barred, resulting in having no opportunity for recovery. 

At The Law Office of Stephen Barker, we understand how complex and time-consuming subrogation can be. Our experienced attorney is well-versed in subrogation laws and has successfully represented insurance companies in a variety of subrogation cases. We prioritize timely action to help our clients face the path of least resistance when seeking the recovery they rightfully deserve. 

Subrogation Limitation Statutes in Florida

Every jurisdiction has specific statutory limitations to subrogation. The law sets these deadlines to ensure that the parties responsible for losses and damages are not left with an extended period of time to clear their records or avoid being held accountable. 

The statute of limitations for subrogation cases in Florida varies based on the nature of the claim. For negligence actions, House Bill 837 has reduced the statute of limitations from 4 years to 2 years.

For product liability claims, there is a separate limitation known as the statute of repose that limits any suit based upona defective product from being raised more than twleve years after most products (defined as products with an expected useful life of 10 years or less), reach the fist purchaser. Thus, you might not have two years from date of loss if your product is more than ten years old at the time it caused said loss.

In construction defect claims, there is also a statute of repose, that the new law reduced from ten to seven years. Therefore, one raising a claim for construction defect against a contractor or general contractor is now required to bring the claim within seven years of the date of the applicable certificate of occupancy, certificate of completion, or abandonment of construction if not fully completed - irrespective of when the loss manifests itself in a form known to the occupant/ owner.

Finally, it is essential to note that these time frames may be further reduced if there are additional specific contractual or other deadlines in place and this list of deadlines is not meant to identify every possible impediment to pursuing a subrogation claim.  

Based upon these variables and exceptions at play with statutes of limitations, statutes of repose and other deadlines, it's in your best interest to consult with an attorney to understand all possible issues pertaining to your case. Reach out to us at The Law Office of Stephen Barker with any questions.  

Importance of Getting Legal Help Early On

Aside from these external deadlines, there are several claim specific factors that can impact the ability to prove a case and recover. Resolving subrogation issues requires a detail-oriented and strategic approach—as well as an awareness of necessary deadlines. Among these are the loss of evidence, loss of witnesses, improper party notification, and waiver of subrogation rights. Therefore, insurance companies should retain legal counsel as early as possible to control all aspects of the potential recovery claim. Legal representation can conduct a thorough investigation of the details surrounding the loss, locate responsible parties, place them on effective and legally sufficient notice and ultimately initiate legal proceedings. Prompt legal representation gives insurers the best chance of recovering the maximum amount of damages.  

Trusted Representation for Subrogation Recovery

Subrogation is a crucial process for insurance companies to recover monetary damages paid out in claims from responsible parties. The Law Office of Stephen Barker has extensive experience in subrogation litigation. They have been in the subrogation arena for over 25 years, and clients who initiate subrogation proceedings with Attorney Barker can benefit from his experience in property, automobile accident, and workers’ compensation subrogation actions.  

For skilled legal support throughout Florida, reach out to us today.