District of Columbia - Automobile Insurance Subrogation: In All 50 States
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Automobile Insurance Subrogation: In All 50 States - Hardcover
Automobile Insurance Subrogation: In All 50 States - Electronic
§ 4.09 DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
§ 4.09 Subrogation Rights
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and
commonly referred to as Washington, the District, or simply D.C., is
the capital of the United States, founded on July 16, 1790. The
authority for its creation is found in Article One of the United States
Constitution which provides for a federal district, distinct from the
states, to serve as the permanent national capital.
The City of Washington was originally a separate municipality
within the federal territory until 1871 when Congress established a
single, unified municipal government for the whole District. This is
why the city, while legally named the District of Columbia, is known
as Washington, D.C. Article One, Section Eight of the United States
Constitution grants the U.S. Congress ultimate authority over
Washington, D.C. The District of Columbia did not have an elected
municipal government until the passage of the 1973 Home Rule Act.
Since then, Congress’ powers over D.C. have been given to a local
government administered by an elected mayor, currently Vincent
Gray, and the thirteen-member Council of the District of Columbia.
However, Congress retains the right to review and overturn laws
created by the city council and intervene in local affairs. This is why
local District of Columbia laws govern subrogation, the regulation of
insurance, and the operation of motor vehicles within the 68.3 square
miles known as the District of Columbia.
The District of Columbia provides an automobile insurance carrier
whose policy contains subrogation language with a contractual right
of subrogation, and provides a policy without any subrogation
language with an automatic right of equitable subrogation.1 The
District of Columbia goes so far as to honor the policy of
subrogation. Its courts have ignored technicalities and permitted an
insurer to enforce their right of subrogation against third-party
tortfeasors even if the policy does not contain a subrogation
provision or subrogation language.2 This is because the right of
subrogation does not depend upon an actual, formal policy language
or an assignment, but rather, because equity confers the same rights
which belong to the insured to the insurer itself.3
The District of Columbia also approves of subrogation or
reimbursement receipts, signed by the insured.4
Gary Wickert is an insurance trial lawyer and is regarded as one of the world's leading experts on insurance subrogation. He is also the author of several subrogation books and legal treatises and is a national and international speaker and lecturer on subrogation and motivational topics. After 15 years as the youngest managing partner in the history of the 30-lawyer Houston law firm of Hughes, Watters & Askanase, L.L.P., Mr. Wickert returned to his native Wisconsin in 1998 and co-founded the subrogation firm of Matthiesen, Wickert & Lehrer, S.C. He oversees a National Recovery Program which includes a network of nearly 285 contracted subrogation law firms in all 50 states, Mexico, Canada and the United Kingdom and boasts recoveries of more than $500 million in recoveries and credits for more than 200 insurance companies. Licensed in both Texas and Wisconsin, Mr. Wickert is double board-certified in both personal injury law and civil trial law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. He is also certified as a Civil Trial Advocate by the National Board of Trial Advocacy, for whom he has both written and graded the product liability questions contained on the NBTA national certification exam taken by trial lawyers around the country. For 25 years, Mr. Wickert has served as an expert witness and insurance consultant on subrogation and insurance related issues and has been consulted by insurance carriers, lawyers, and legislative bodies from several states. He is a licensed arbitrator and has attended more than 750 mediations in more than 30 different states. He has represented subrogated insurance carriers in every state, and has been admitted pro hac vice in 17 states. Gary Wickert has worked with the Texas Legislative Oversight Committee in rewriting their workers' compensation subrogation statutes, has served on the Board of the National Association of Subrogation Professionals, and has been cited as an authority on workers' compensation subrogation by several appellate courts, including the Texas Court of Appeals. He is one of only a few lawyers to have ever represented a subrogated carrier before the United States Supreme Court, and was named as one of Law & Politics magazine's "Super Lawyers" for 2005, 2006, and 2007.