When you get into a car accident and file a claim with your own insurance company, it is called a first-party insurance claim. When someone else is at fault for your car accident and you believe that at-fault driver should pay for damages, you file a third-party claim with the other driver’s (or the at-fault party’s) insurance company.
Third-party car insurance claims can take a number of different forms. The most common scenarios include:
- You are a driver who is involved in an accident caused by another driver in a “fault” insurance claim state. To collect car accident and injury damages, you file a third-party insurance claim with the other driver’s insurance company.
- You were a passenger in a car that was involved in an accident caused by the driver. To collect injury-related damages, you file a third-party insurance claim with the driver’s insurance company.
- You are an on-the-job employee driving a company car when you are injured in an accident. To collect injury-related damages, you file a third-party insurance claim with your employer’s insurance company.
- You are in your own car making a work-related trip (other than your daily commute) when you are injured in an accident. To collect injury-related damages, you file a third-party insurance claim with your employer’s insurance company.
- Third-party claims are the most common type of insurance claim filed in the United States, and they are very common in West Virginia, which is a “fault” car insurance state.
- When you purchase first-party insurance coverage, you are making sure that you have protection when you personally sustain an injury or when your property is lost or damaged. When you purchase third-party insurance coverage, you are making sure that you have protection when someone else sustains an injury or suffers damaged property due to your negligence.
How To File A Third-Party Insurance Claim In West Virginia
In order to receive payment for damages, it is vital that you know how to correctly file your third-party insurance claim. To do so, follow these four steps:
- Collect all available information about your accident and related damages. Begin by collecting the name, contact information, and insurance information of the at-fault driver. Also keep track of accident photos, damage reports, witness statements, mechanic bills, and medical bills. You may also wish to write up your accident experience.
- File an accident report with the registry of motor vehicles. This step is mandated by law.
- Contact the at-fault driver’s insurance company to report the accident. Do this as soon as you have the information you need to file a report. If your accident was complex or if your injuries were serious, you may wish to contact a West Virginia injury lawyer before you file a report or give a recorded statement.
- Consider enlisting the help of an attorney. If you are unsure who is at fault for your accident, or if you are unsure how much money you are owed, you may wish to consult with an auto accident attorney about your claim and your legal options.
Do You Need an Attorney to Make a Third-Party Car Accident Claim?
Third-party car accident claims can vary wildly in complexity, from a simple fender-bender that only involves a little property damage and an obvious at-fault party, to a multiple-vehicle accident involving serious injuries and millions in damages. While many people can safely file simple third-party claims without an issue, more complicated claims should be examined by an attorney if you wish to fully understand your legal options and maximize your chances of recovering the amount that you deserve.