You are entitled to compensation if you are injured in an accident. However, the person in charge of compensating you will depend on the particular situation. Normally, you can either file a claim with your insurance company or with the insurance company of the person responsible for the accident. When you make a claim against the at-fault party’s insurance, it is called a third-party claim. Keep reading to learn more about third-party claims.
What Is a Third-Party Claim?
A third-party claim, also known as a liability claim, is a claim to an insurance company other than your own. This is made in the event that the accident was the result of someone else’s negligence.
Cases in Which You Can File a Third-Party Claim
These are some of the cases in which you may file a third-party claim:
- You were in a traffic accident because the other driver was distracted or failed to comply with traffic regulations.
- You suffered an accident at work as a result of the negligent actions of someone other than your employer.
- You were injured in a slip-and-fall accident on someone else’s property.
Fault States and Comparative Negligence Laws
There are two aspects of Texas law that you should be aware of when filing a third-party claim. First, Texas is one of 38 at-fault states when it comes to determining who must cover expenses resulting from a traffic accident. This means that the party who was found at fault for the accident must compensate the injured party. The other 12 states are no-fault states, which means that each party involved in the accident turns to their insurance regardless of who was at fault. Therefore, most of the time when you are involved in a car accident, it must be determined who was at fault to know who should be financially compensated.
Second, there is a modified form of comparative negligence laws in Texas. This means that as part of the investigation, it will be evaluated whether you as the plaintiff were at fault in the accident. You will not be able to receive any compensation if it is determined that you were more than 51% at fault. However, if it is determined that you were partially at fault (less than 51%), you will be able to receive compensation. In addition, the compensation you receive will be reduced by the percentage of fault that is determined. For example, if the total financial compensation you recover for damages is $150,000, but you were found to be 20% at fault for the accident, you will only receive $120,000.
How to File a Third-Party Claim
Now that you know when you can make a claim against a third party, let’s move on to how to do it.
The first thing you should know is that insurance companies are not your friends. Generally, they want to reduce the impact of the damages you have suffered or they will try to blame you for the accident.
To ensure that the process is favorable to you, be sure to gather as much information as possible about the accident: time, place, circumstances, description of the damages and injuries, names of those involved and their personal information, etc. If there is property damage above $1,000 or if there are injuries or deaths in the accident, the protocol is to call the police. They will make a report of what happened.
You should also always remember to prioritize your health and well-being. Be sure to get medical help immediately if you or anyone else involved in the accident was injured. Once you are sure you have taken care of the initial emergency, contact your insurance company and/or the third party’s insurance company. They will proceed to assess the situation and determine the next steps depending on who’s at fault, severity of property damage, and physical injuries.
Possible Problems You May Encounter
Certain situations can make the process more difficult and jeopardize getting fair compensation.
For example, the at-fault driver may not have enough insurance coverage to pay for the damages. It may also happen that the third party’s insurer does not recognize the driver’s fault, or they may try to place fault on you.
In these cases, legal assistance is key. Remember that insurance companies will try to reduce the final agreed sum, which will not be in your favor. Also, remember that if you have collision coverage or UM/UIM coverage on your insurance, they will help cover the damages. However, you should always aim to collect the money from the at-fault party.
The process of making a third-party claim can be complex and tedious. Not having legal counsel can cost you a significant percentage of the money you deserve. That is why we recommend contacting us as soon as possible to help you obtain a fair settlement. At AMS Law Group, we are committed to recovering the highest possible amount of money for your compensation. Our extensive experience in personal injury law and motor vehicle injury law is critical to the successful outcome of your case.