When you are involved in an accident, you may wonder where you’ll get the compensation needed to recover. Is it your insurance who foots the bill or the other parties who may be at fault? Further, can you still file a lawsuit if you have insurance? First-party and third-party insurance claims are similar in what you can recover in many ways–the key difference is in who is held liable.
Here is what you need to know about first-party and third-party insurance claims.
What Is a First-Party Claim?
In essence, a first-party insurance claim is one where you as the victim of an accident or injury make a claim against your insurance. This means you’ve paid and have an insurance policy for such events and will recover compensation from that policy.
If you have insurance, a first-party claim allows you to notify your insurance company of the accident and from there, your policy will compensate you for your losses as defined by the terms of your distinct contract.
Common first-party claims include:
- Motorist coverage for uninsured or underinsured drivers
- Medical bills
- Collision or comprehensive coverage
- Rental insurance
Remember that the amount of compensation you may be entitled to will greatly depend on the terms of your insurance policy and the specifics of the accident.
What is a Third-Party Claim?
Consider the procedure following a car accident in which you are not at fault: At a stop sign, you obey the traffic laws, careful of any other vehicles. You proceed through the intersection when a driver t-bones you. You are left with a totaled vehicle, serious injuries, and lost wages while you recover.
You can sue the other driver and/or their insurance company for the damages you incurred. The act of going against the other driver is a third-party claim.
Also known as liability claims, the third-party claim occurs when the victim of a car accident files a claim with the insurance of the other driver who caused the accident.
It is important to know that in cases where the insurance company is unable to or is unwilling to settle with the injured third party, the liability claim can make its way to court.
Third-party claims are not just for car accidents. If you are injured at work, you may receive workers’ compensation benefits. However, if the accident is a result of a third-party error, you may be able to seek additional compensation or make up the difference in what workers’ comp doesn’t provide, via a third-party claim. A workers’ compensation attorney can guide you through the third-party claim process.
How Do I Know What Type of Claim I Need To Make?
In general, state laws on liability will tell you what type of claim you need to make. Further, who is responsible for the accident and thus has the most liability will also be the person to pay out the losses.
To determine fault, there will likely be an investigation held by both your insurance company and the other party(s) involved.
Is a First-Party or Third-Party Claim More Beneficial?
The type of claim you make will ultimately depend on your state’s laws regarding liability and fault. However, in general, there are benefits to a third-party claim over a first-party claim.
In a third-party claim, you are not beholden to the terms of the insurance contract that the actual policyholder is, nor does it necessarily mirror the benefits within your insurance policy.
This means that you can make claims for damages outside of your policy, including medical bills, pain and suffering, mental anguish, lost wages, etc.
Can I File a Lawsuit with Insurance?
Even if you have insurance, you can still file a lawsuit. This is because your policy may not cover everything you lost as a result of the accident or workplace injury. And by law, they don’t have to.
This is often called a bad faith insurance practice. Common types of bad faith practices by an insurance company include:
- Delaying or denying compensation without a just reason
- Not acknowledging a claim promptly
- Failing to provide a thorough investigation to a claim
- Wanting to settle for a lesser amount than reasonable
- Failing to inform the policyholder of the appeal process
- Forcing unnecessarily complicated documentation for a claim
- Utilizing intimidation against a claimant
Many policyholders worry that their insurance isn’t providing what they need, or that the information isn’t enough. The Munley Law insurance bad faith lawyers can explain your rights.
What Do I Need To Know About Filing a Claim With The Insurance?
It doesn’t matter if you are filing a first-party or third-party claim when it comes to being prepared to deal with the insurance companies. To be prepared to file a claim, be mindful of the following actions:
- You must notify the insurance right away. The sooner you act, the better it will be for you. If you are filing a first-party claim, you may be on a tight deadline to begin the process, so be sure to check your policy. In the case of a third-party claim, you’ll still need to act quickly.
- What you say can be used against you. The insurance companies are not here for your best interest and what you say could be used against you. Especially in cases of third-party claims, be sure to stick to the facts, never admit fault, do not sign any paperwork, or give a recorded statement. Instead, call a lawyer.
While you never have to have a lawyer represent you for an insurance claim, it can save you from unnecessary stress. Further, your lawyer will know to only share what is legally necessary and can tell when an insurance adjuster is attempting to settle your claim for less than what is owed to you.
Filing a First-Party or Third-Party Claim? Munley Law Can Help.
Whether you have been hurt in a car accident or a workplace injury, the diligent attorneys at Munley Law can guide you through the process of filing a first-party or third-party claim. Our lawyers can help facilitate communication with the insurance companies, as well as handle all of the fine details while you focus on recovery.
Further, a lawyer can handle sending a demand letter with the at-fault party’s insurance company, making sure that the amount requested for your losses is fair.
In the event the demands are not met, our lawyers can negotiate on your behalf, or handle a denial with the insurance company to make sure you get the compensation you need.
At Munley Law, we know that accidents can derail your life in many ways. If you are worried and have concerns about communicating with the insurance companies, we can help. We also know that financial stability is likely at the forefront of your mind following an injury. That’s why we work on a contingency-fee-basis. This means you pay nothing out of pocket until a settlement or verdict is reached. And, what you pay is never more than the amount paid out to you.
For a no-obligation, free consultation, contact the injury lawyers at Munley Law by calling 570-213-9759 or by completing our online contact form today.