One of the first things you should do when you’re injured in an accident is to file a claim. You might file it with your insurance company or the other driver’s insurance company. The claim is so that you may be compensated for any medical expenses, lost time at work, property damage and other damages related to the accident. When you file with the other driver’s insurance company, you are filing a third-party claim.
If you’re filing a claim, the insurance company will want to interview you. At this point, you’ll have to give the insurance company the details of the accident. Be sure to get a police report and submit a copy to the insurance company.
Other documentation you’ll need includes:
- Medical bills and records. Be sure to notify the insurance company if you expect ongoing medical care and will be submitted subsequent medical bills.
- Repair estimates. The insurance company may ask for up to three different estimates. However, it is very important to note that it is Ohio state law that you only need 1 estimate.
- The dollar amount you’re claiming.
Third-Party Claims with an Attorney
If you have retained an attorney and the claim turns into a lawsuit, the attorney will provide the police report during the discovery process.
Always send copies of documents – never your originals. You may need those originals should the process become contentious. You should also keep careful documentation of everything you’re going through, including phone calls to your insurance company and the other driver’s insurance company, medical processes, vehicle repairs and other processes related to the accident.
First and Third-party Claims
Whether you file a first or third-party claim depends on who is at fault for the accident. Generally, if you’re at fault, you file a first party claim with your own insurance company. If you’re not at fault or if you’re only partially at fault, you would file a third-party claim – a claim with the other driver’s insurance company. Most people have insurance coverage for third parties in the event someone is injured because of their actions.
How to Make a Third-Party Vehicle Accident Claim
The first step in making a third-party claim is notifying the insurance company of the accident. A phone call will be the best way to take care of this. If you can’t reach anyone via phone, then a letter to the insurance company will suffice. Even if you think you are at fault, you should send the representative a letter simply stating that you were in an accident involving someone covered by them. Do not give details of the accident until you speak with your attorney. You may give them your attorney’s contact information. Send the letter via certified mail so you’re sure they have been notified. You may also call the insurance company, but a phone call should always be followed up with a letter. Even in the phone call, don’t give the insurance company any information about the accident.
Once you have given notice that you were involved in an accident, the insurance company starts to follow its procedures for third-party claims. It may be awhile before you are paid on your claim, and the insurance company will most likely try to negotiate a settlement. If you provided your attorney’s information, the insurance company will contact your attorney to negotiate a settlement.
Types of Third-party Claims
Third-party claims vary depending on your state’s laws. A state may be no fault or fault. However, some characteristics of the third-party claim remain the same, regardless of how your state treats fault. The basis of a third-party claim is that you have on contractual obligation with the insurance party. Thus, third-party claims include:
- Filing with another driver’s insurance company.
- If you are injured while driving a company car. The third-party is the company’s insurance coverage.
- If you are injured in an accident in your own vehicle that you use for your job, you would file a claim with your employer’s insurance company. This is also a third-party claim.
Any claim made to an insurance company that is not your own is a third-party claim.
Filing a Third-party Claim in a Fault State vs. No-Fault State
Generally, if you live in a no-fault state, you are most likely required to recover funds from your own insurance company. However, that requirement does not exist in tort states, like Ohio. In tort states, the driver at fault is responsible for paying a victim’s medical expenses. As long as the other driver was at fault in the accident, you may file with his or her insurance company for recovery.
The third-party claims could be easy or could be complex depending on how the accident occurred. As long as everyone is sure the other driver caused the accident or the other insurance company is liable, those insurance companies generally process third-party claims quickly.
If the fault is disputed or the injuries are significant, recovery of funds could become difficult. If the insurance company doesn’t believe its insured is at fault, the company will start an investigation and recovery of your money will take significantly longer. The third-party insurance company would rather settle since the cost of litigation could wind up being in the thousands.
Top-Quality Accident Repair
If you have been involved in an auto accident, the skilled technicians at Alexander Body & Fender can help you get back on the road. Our auto body shop is proud to have served Akron, Ohio for more than 90 years. Contact Alexander Body & Fender at (330) 376-8105 or request an estimate today.