Legal Term of the Day: ERISA

ERISA sounds like a mysterious and beautiful character on a soap opera, right? Nope, ERISA is actually The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) is a federal law that sets minimum standards for most voluntarily established pension and health plans in private industry to provide protection for individuals in these plans. Link: Department of Labor's explanation of ERISA.

How does ERISA relate to Florida auto accident claims? If your health insurance is an ERISA plan then it can claim subrogation against the personal injury claim; in other words the ERISA plan gets to be paid back for any payments it made towards medical bills for accident related injuries. If the health insurance plan is not ERISA then typically the amount of the subrogation lien can be negotiated down at the end of a case depending upon the amount of the lien and the amount of the recovery, but this is not the case with an ERISA plan, the ERISA plan can claim a subrogation lien regardless of the amount of the settlement. Of course, there are some exceptions, so it is a good idea to consult with an attorney if you have had an auto accident in Florida and if your health insurance pays for any portion of your medical expenses, you may have to pay the health insurance back from any recovery you or your attorney obtain from the at fault party. The attorneys at The Law Offices of Charles D. Scott can help you understand this difficult and confusing area of law.

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