First-Party Claims vs. Third-Party Claims

By Chris Dixon


What is a First Party Claim?

A first party claim is when you file a claim through your personal insurance company. If you’re at-fault, or the one who caused an accident, you should be filing a first party claim to your own insurance company. Example: You ran a stop sign and hit someone’s car. Or, you’re looking for support from your insurer if you rear-ended an SUV in a grocery store parking lot.

What is a Third Party Claim?

These claims are against someone else (i.e. the third party). If someone runs into you or harms you in any way, or was negligent, you can file a claim to that person’s or a business’ insurance company. Third party claims should be opened if the negligent party was clearly at-fault. For instance, if you’re in a parked vehicle, and a commercial truck runs into you, the other driver is clearly at fault.

What If Both Parties Are At-Fault?

In these circumstances, like if someone was turning right on a “do not turn right on red,” and you were speeding, it may be best to file a claim to both your own and the other driver’s insurance companies. Determining fault is the basis settling these claims, which brings us to:

How Do Insurance Companies Determine Fault?

It’s important to understand that, in the case of auto accidents, there are “fault” and “no-fault” states. In states that accept “fault” tort cases (like a car accident), usually, the at-fault party’s insurer will cover the damage. In no-fault states, drivers often have to get their own personal insurance (PIP, or personal injury protection).

Fault is determined in a number of ways. Here are a few:

  • The evidence that both parties gather should lean one way or the other. If there is clearly someone at fault, the full settlement will be paid. If there’s doubt, or partial fault (comparative negligence), the settlement may be reduced.
  • Fault is often taken at face value. A lot of times, a driver in an accident will admit fault at the scene or while getting medical treatment. Try not to do that. Admitting fault to the police, or while exchanging information with witnesses and other drivers, will sway the claim. State the facts and stick to them.
  • “Negligence” is another way to think of as “fault.” To win a settlement or have a chance at a lawsuit, you’re going to have to prove that the defendant (the other driver, in this case) breached his duty (not speeding through a red light) and caused you harm.

Should I Make a Claim?

Yes, you should make an insurance claim when you’re in a car accident. Talk to your insurance company, get the facts, collect all of the information you can, and document everything. Filing an auto claim isn’t difficult, but if you need help or think you’re being ignored or being offered a low settlement, contact the Dixon Injury Firm for more information. We also offer case reviews and free consultations.

That’s it for “Step 1: Evaluating Your Case”. Now you know the answers to…

  • Do I Have a Personal Injury Case?
  • Do I Need a Personal Injury Lawyer?
  • How Do I Win an Injury Insurance Claim?
  • How Do I Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer?
  • Will My Injury Claim Go To Court?
  • What’s the Difference Between Negotiating a Claim and Filing a Lawsuit?
  • What are First-Party and Third-Party Claims?

The St. Louis personal injury lawyers at the Dixon Injury Firm are able to handle a number of cases. This includes car and truck accidents, dog bites, workers compensation claims, medical malpractice, and other cases in the Greater St. Louis area and Illinois. Let Us Know how we can help.

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