What Is the Difference Between First Party and Third Party Insurance Claims?

Most people don’t spend a lot of time examining the details of their insurance policies or their state’s car accident and personal injury laws until after they experience an accident with injuries. After an accident, suddenly you become far more familiar than you ever wished with terms like “first-party insurance claims” and “third-party insurance claims.” What is the difference between these two types of claims and how do you know what type of claim to file after a serious accident with property damage, medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering?

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What Are First-Party Insurance Claims and When Are They Appropriate?

Making a first-party insurance claim means you are filing a claim for compensation with your own insurance company. You are the “first party” because you are the policyholder and pay the premiums for coverage. In a handful of no-fault states, accident victims may only file first-party claims against their personal injury protection (PIP) policies unless they have catastrophic injuries. However, in most states, the party that’s at fault for the accident is liable for damages. In fault-based insurance states, first-party claims are only appropriate under the following circumstances:

  • You have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage and the at-fault party has no insurance or they only have the minimum coverage and it doesn’t cover all of your damages
  • You have chosen additional coverage such as collision coverage
  • You have added med-pay coverage to your insurance and wish to use it to pay some or all of your medical expenses
  • You’re filing for coverage for incidental expenses included in your policy such as rental car costs during repairs to your vehicle, or vehicle towing coverage

If you’ve hired a car accident lawyer after an accident, your attorney may file first-party claims against all applicable policies on your insurance as well as third-party claims against an at-fault driver or other entity such as a negligent road maintenance or city road planning agency.

What Is a Third-Party Accident Claim?

Filing a third-party claim after an accident means you are filing for compensation against the at-fault party’s insurance policy. In fault-based insurance states, a third-party claim is required once an attorney investigates and documents clear evidence of liability. A third-party claim recovers compensation for common car accident damages like property damage, lost income, and pain and suffering.

Insurance companies commonly resist paying out large amounts after an accident. They may make fast, low settlement offers or delay, devalue, or wrongfully deny claims for damages after a car accident. Typically, a car accident attorney for the injury victim navigates a third-party claim by compiling evidence, carefully calculating damages, and negotiating for the highest amount of compensation available.

A skilled attorney maximizes the compensation an accident victim ultimately recovers by making claims against the at-fault party’s insurance while also claiming a portion of damages from the injury victim’s insurance.

When insurance companies resist paying out on claims, an attorney uses their skills and resources to make a compelling case for compensation in both first and third-party insurance claims to secure compensation from all available avenues.

Call Younglove Law Group for Skilled Legal Counsel After an Accident or Injury

At Younglove Law Group, we believe that no injury victim should have to take on the legal challenges of navigating an accident claim while they are trying to focus on recovering. We’re ready to ensure the best possible economic recovery in your case while you concentrate on your physical recovery and spending time healing with your family. Contact our Encino car accident attorneys today so we can take action on your claim.