The Department of Justice suggests Americans file between 300,000 and 500,000 personal injury claims annually. While motor vehicle accidents make up most of these claims, several other leading examples exist. They include medical malpractice, product liability, wrongful death, slip and fall, workplace accidents, and animal attacks.
Regardless of why you need to file a personal injury insurance claim, it’s essential to know whether you need to file a first-party, third-party, or both.
Here you’ll learn the differences between first and third-party claims to ensure you file the correct type of claim after an accident.
What Is a First-Party Insurance Claim?
A first-party claim is a claim you make against your own insurance policy. You, the policyholder, are the first party, and the insurance company is the second party.
Usually, you will pay the agreed-upon deductible, and the insurance company will cover the rest, assuming your policy covers the details of the claim.
You can file a first-party insurance claim for these types of coverage:
- Collision and comprehensive coverage
- Emergency road services
- Gap insurance
- Medical bills (Med Pay policy)
- Personal injury protection
- Personal umbrella protection
- Rental reimbursement
- Underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage
Examples of a First-Party Claim
If you have homeowner’s insurance and your home suffers damage from a fire, you would make a claim with your own insurance company.
Should you cause a car collision, you would file a first-party claim with your insurance to cover the repair costs for your vehicle. Further, first-party car insurance can provide coverage if you’re involved in an accident and the at-fault party doesn’t have insurance.
What Is a Third-Party Insurance Claim?
A third-party insurance claim is a claim you make against someone else’s insurance policy. This type of claim is standard when you get hurt from someone else’s negligence, and they have liability insurance coverage for a third party.
To make this kind of claim, you need to identify the negligent party’s insurance provider and notify them of a claim. If their insurance contract covers the losses you seek, they may pay you up to the policy limits for your damages.
Some types of third-party insurance include:
- Animal or canine liability insurance
- Commercial motor vehicle liability coverage
- General commercial liability coverage
- Product, professional, or public liability insurance
Examples of Third-Party Claims
Suppose a driver runs a red light and hits you in an intersection. In that case, you would file a third-party claim against that driver’s auto insurance policy that covers liability for the following:
- Physical injuries
- Medical expenses
- Property damage
Because so many car accidents happen yearly, each state requires licensed drivers to carry a minimum amount of liability coverage in the event an auto accident occurs. For instance, Florida law requires all drivers to have a minimum of $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) and another $10,000 minimum in property damage liability (PDL).
Another example of when you would file a third-party claim is if you fell and hurt yourself while shopping at a store because the floor was wet, but there was no sign stating such. You would file a claim against the store’s insurance company.
Pedestrian accidents, like getting hit while using the crosswalk, are another instance where you would file a liability claim against the at-fault party’s insurance company.
How Are First Party Insurance Claims and Third Party Insurance Claims Different?
The insurance company with whom you file will dictate whether it’s a first-party or third-party claim.
Additionally, third-party claims don’t affect your insurance premiums. Thus, your insurance policy won’t become more expensive if you file a third-party claim.
Should You File a First-Party or Third-Party Insurance Claim?
The type of insurance claim you should file depends on the nature of the accident and who was at fault.
For example, if there were no other parties involved, such as you drove into a tree or a hurricane wreaked havoc on your home, you should file a first-party claim.
If another party was involved and they were at fault, you should file a third-party claim.
However, if another party was involved in the accident and you were at fault, you should file a first-party claim.
In some accidents, you may need to file both first- and third-party claims. A personal injury lawyer can assist you with navigating this situation.
Communication With the Insurance Adjuster
Insurance companies often have policies requiring you to file a report within a set time from when the accident occurred. Yet, when giving details about the accident, you want to keep these tips in mind:
- First, the insurance company can use anything you say against you. So stick to the facts and don’t offer opinions.
- Second, never admit fault. This includes saying sorry. Saying sorry is an admission of guilt.
- Third, do not provide a recorded statement about the accident.
Disclaimer: if you have specific questions or concerns about speaking with the insurance adjuster, seek legal advice from a qualified and trustworthy attorney and consider forming an attorney-client relationship with them.
What Is a Bad-Faith Insurance Claim?
A bad-faith insurance claim is when the insurance company fails to pay claims it owes to the claimant or provides the legal defense the insurance policy offers. Some examples of bad faith practices include:
- Failing to conduct an investigation
- Making threats
- Misrepresenting the law or policy
- Offering less than the claim’s value
- Refusing to pay
- Unreasonable delays
Bad faith damages are typically only available in first-party insurance claims. This is because the claimant in a third-party claim is not the insured, and they are making a claim against the insured party and not the insurance company.
What Is a Subrogation Claim?
A subrogation claim is when you file a first-party claim, but your insurance company wants the other party’s insurance company to reimburse the costs. This may happen if the other party is at-fault for your personal injury.
If there is an insurance subrogation, you don’t owe any money.
Get Assistance With Your Third- or First-Party Insurance Claim
Whether you need to file a third- or first-party insurance claim, you always want a skilled personal injury attorney to help you with the claims process.
Request a free consultation and case evaluation from our law firm, Burnett Law. If you feel more comfortable calling to schedule your free case review, our phone number is (813) 221-5000.
We look forward to helping you achieve a favorable verdict for your personal injury case.