Aspen Claims Service

Subrogation And The Sudden Emergency Doctrine

 Monday, January 3, 2022

 Matthiesen, Wickert & Lehrer, S.C.

It’s happened at least once to every subrogation professional. A significant claim file involving an auto accident in which liability appears to be a lock, suddenly goes into a tailspin when the other side denies the claim because the tortfeasor suffered a heart attack or blacked out as a result of some other sudden medical emergency.

You inquire into the law and learn that almost every state will avoid imposing liability where an auto accident is the result of a sudden and unforeseeable physical incapacity.

You struggle to find ways to attack and defeat the sudden emergency defense so you can recover your or your client’s significant subrogation interest, but evidence and documentation all seem to be peculiarly in the possession and control of the very defendant you want to sue.

What should you do?

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