A large number of car accidents take place all over the U.S every day, some of which are due to the drivers’ faults. Then again, there are car accidents that happen due to other’s faults. Nevertheless, getting involved in a car accident can put you in a state of shock, whether it is your fault or someone else’s.
No matter how the car accident happened, you will have to follow some basic steps if you want to claim your insurance. It’s important to remember that dealing with your own insurance company after an auto accident can be stressful and time consuming. If you have to deal with the insurance company of the other people, you might have to compromise your sanity.
To make things more bearable, here are some tips to handle a third-party claim successfully.
What is a Third-Party Claim and How Does it Work?
A third party car accident claim is made by the injured party with the insurance company of the person who was at fault. Third party car accident claims are the most common type of car insurance claims made in the U.S. The insurance claim will allow you to receive compensations for the lost wages, medical expenses, pain and sufferings due to the accident.
Before claiming a third party car accident claim, you must determine whether you are eligible for one or not. Not every accident results in a third party claim, so in order to file a third party car accident claim you must be able to prove that you suffered a serious injury or permanent impairment.
To decide whether you qualify for the claim, the court will look at:
- The nature of injury.
- Extent to which the injury affects your normal life.
- Degree of treatment required and costs involved.
One more thing that you must do before filing your claim is contact your personal injury lawyer. A lawyer would be the best person to guide you through the claims process and also help you out of you have to file a lawsuit against the miscreant.
How to Make a Third-Party Car Accident Claim
If you are lucky enough to escape death, the first thing that you must do is to file a third party car accident claim. Making a third party claim is nothing too complicated – you just have to write a letter to the concerned insurance company.
The complications start after you file the claim. Before writing the letter, make sure you get in touch with the concerned insurance company over telephone and inform them about the claim as soon as possible. Prompt notice can make a big difference, so you should never overlook the “giving notice” stage.
In the written notice, you must tell the insurance company that the accident occurred due to its policy holder’s fault and you must also provide the insurance adjusters with all the basic details about what happened at the accident site.
There are a few more things that you must do, to ensure you are able to handle the claim without hassles:
- Collect All the Required Information
Gather all the required information such as the faulty driver’s address, insurance company name and policy information. Take pictures of the car accident scene, so that you have enough evidence if you are pulled to the courtroom. Gathering the right information is the key to make a successful claim, so make use of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ free smartphone WreckCheck App or other mobile apps provided by the car insurance companies, to collect and exchange the right information.
- Inform Everyone Who Must Know About the Accident
Apart from notifying the other person’s insurance company, you must also file a complaint with the police. The police will investigate to find who is at fault. The insurance company will also perform its own investigation to determine who is at fault based on the driver and witness statements, police report and physical evidence.
You must also consider informing your own auto insurance company about the damages made to your car and the injuries you suffered. This will establish a good relationship with your auto insurance company and will help you make a collision claim in case the other person’s insurance company denies the charges and you don’t get any compensation.
- Get an Authorization Before Going for Repairs
Theoretically, once you have informed the other person’s insurance company, you can take your car to a repair shop and get yourself check-up by a doctor and expect the insurance company to pay the bills. But that does not happen every time.
Many insurance companies require you to get an authorization from them before heading towards a repair shop or seeing a doctor. So, make sure you get a written authorization from the insurance company that it accepts liability and is ready to pay for the repairs and treatments. Also, remember that insurance companies can recommend auto repair shops but can never force you to take your vehicle to a specific repair shop.
- Know How to Proceed
Oftentimes, the insurer of the at-fault driver might deny charges and refrain from taking liability. If you decide not to fight the at-fault driver’s insurance company, you can file a claim with your own auto insurer, which in turn can choose to fight the other insurance company to prove the faults of its policyholder.
In case you decide to fight the other insurance company, you must appoint an experienced and skilled lawyer who can help you navigate the insurance laws. But remember, the lawyer can claim a portion of the compensation that you receive, if you win the case. Lawyers would also help you understand the unfair claims settlement practices act for your state, so that you take advantage of the act and get compensated within time.
Depending upon the extent of damage done to your vehicle or yourself, you need to choose the right recourse.
By knowing what to do after meeting with an accident (due to someone else’s fault) and how to handle the third party car accident claim, you can make sure you get compensated accordingly. Gather information and involve everyone who can help you make the claim successful.
In case you are unable to handle the intricacies, you can hire an experienced lawyer to handle the case on your behalf and help you get the maximum compensation.
About the Author
Robert Burks is Marketing Manager at Schwartzapfel Lawyers P.C., one of the leading personal injury lawyer firms in New York City. He has experience of more than a decade in writing about law and legal issues, particularly personal injury and medical malpractice law.