Who is a Third Party in a Personal Injury Claim?
Filing a third-party claim may involve filing insurance claims with another party’s insurance provider. Third-party claims may also be relevant in workplace accident claims.
Filing a Claim with an Insurance Company After an Accident
After a car accident, slip and fall accident, or another type of personal injury, you may file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company. Filing insurance claims is the beginning of the process to recover compensation for injuries and damages.
If you file an insurance claim with another party’s insurer, it is considered a third-party claim. If you file a claim with your own insurer, it is considered a first-party claim.
In a third-party claim, the insurance company will investigate to determine if their insured was responsible for causing your injury. If so, the insurance company negotiates a settlement for your claim. If the insurance company refuses to settle the claim for a fair amount, you can file a lawsuit against the party who caused your injury.
Filing a Third Party Claim in a Workers’ Compensation Case
Most injuries at work are covered by workers’ compensation insurance. Generally, employees are not permitted to sue employers for injuries covered by workers’ compensation insurance.
However, if a third party caused your workplace injury, you could have a claim against that party for damages.
For example, if you were involved in a car crash while driving a company vehicle, the injury may be covered by workers’ comp. However, if the other driver caused the injury, you could have a personal injury claim against the driver.
Likewise, if a defective product caused an injury on the job, the injured worker could file a product liability claim against the manufacturer. The product liability claim would be considered a third-party claim.
Third-party claims related to workplace accidents offer additional compensation than typical workers’ comp claims. Workers’ comp benefits only cover medical expenses and lost income, whereas third-party claims cover economic and non-economic damages.
Damages Available for a Third Party Claim
Examples of those damages include, but are not necessarily limited to:
- Medical bills and expenses
- Pain and suffering damages
- Loss of wages, commissions, salaries, benefits, and other forms of income
- Reduced future earning capacity
- Loss of enjoyment of life or quality of life
- Personal care and nursing care
- Disabilities, impairments, and disfigurements
Negligence and Third-Party Claims
Recovering compensation for a third-party claim requires you to prove all elements of negligence. That means you must prove:
- The party who caused your injury owed you a duty of care
- The party breached that duty of care
- The breach of this duty was the proximate and direct cause of your injury
- You sustained damages
You will often prove these elements through video footage, eyewitness testimony, expert testimony, medical records, and other evidence.
What Should I Do If Another Party Caused My Injury?
Seek immediate medical attention for your injuries and report the accident to the correct parties.
For instance, call 911 to report the crash to the police. If you are hurt at work, notify your employer immediately. When you fall or are injured on another party’s property, notify the property owner.
Prompt medical attention helps prove your case. You need to link your injuries to the accident. Waiting to seek medical care might give the other party reason to question whether the accident caused your injuries.
Keep detailed medical and expense records. Documentation of damages increases the chance you can receive maximum compensation for your injury claim.
You may also want to consult an experienced injury lawyer about your case. Understanding your legal rights is the best way to protect your right to a fair and just settlement.