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McEwen DuBovis P.A. Law Blog

Insurance Subrogation Statutes of Limitation: Extremely Long-Term Liability.

Posted on 4/1/2014 by in Litigation Liability Insurance Vehicle Subrogation

If you have not been sued by an insurance company, you likely are unaware of insurance companies’ right of subrogation. The right of subrogation, granted to insurance companies by the Florida Legislature, creates the possibility of exceedingly long term liability for companies with uninsured or underinsured vehicles that our businesses rely on.

When a driver’s policy has uninsured motorist coverage, that driver’s insurance company will pay out claims not covered by the at-fault driver’s policy limits. This action, however, provides insurance companies with the right of subrogation against the at-fault driver or in the worst case, your company because the vehicle was owned by it.  Following a few basic rules, insurance companies have the right to “stand in the shoes” of their policy holders, and sue the at-fault party on their behalf and recover what they paid out on the uninsured motorist claim.  

The Legislature affords insurance companies some “upgraded shoes”, though.  Whereas an individual must bring suit, or waive his right to sue, within four years of an accident involving personal injury, an insurance company’s time limit does not begin to accrue until the final resolution of the uninsured motorist claim. Metropolitan Casualty Insurance Company v. Tepper, 2 So.3d 209 (Fla. 2009). More specifically, until they have made the final payment, perhaps even after rehabilitation, the four year statute of limitations begins to run, meaning your company could be sued, perhaps, even a  decade after an accident.

In short, having your or your business' vehicles underinsured could lead to extremely long term liabilities, which should not be taken lightly.