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Is there a statute of limitations on ERISA subrogation claims?

I am often asked the question, "Is there a statute of limitations on ERISA subrogation claims."  Most often, this question arises when a claim is settled and the lawyer had no knowledge of any ERISA subrigation rights and months or years later the lawyer receives a letter from a subrogation collection company.

Like so many legal questions, the answer is "maybe."  Possibly the better answer is, "you are best off to not ever have to ask this question."

The reason for the later response is that the law is very unclear on when the statute of limitations begins to run on an ERISA subrogation claim.  Obviously, if the Plan language sets out a clear statute for collecting on the claim, the answer may be easier, but I can't think of a Plan that has ever clearly set a statute within the subrogation language.

Because of that, the lawyer is left trying to reconcile federal ERISA law with state statutes of limitations and also to attempt to determine who had what notice of the insurance claim and when.

 

Professor Baron, one of the undisputed experts on ERISA law, wrote an excellent article setting out the case law on SOL issues in ERISA claims.  I highly recommend you read this article:  http://erisawithprofessorbaron.com/wp-content/uploads/Defeating-an-ERISA-Lien-with-the-Statute-of-Limitations.pdf

Professor Baron's website is treasure trove of good information on ERISA law:  http://erisawithprofessorbaron.com/

Chris Nichols

www.NicholsTrialLaw.com

www.NicholsTrialLaw.com 1.800.906.5984

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