Third-party insurance is coverage that protects you when others (third parties) file insurance claims or lawsuits against you. The biggest part of car insurance policies and homeowners’ premises liability insurance can be considered third-party insurance liability coverage.
Car insurance is the best example of third-party coverage. We may think that our car insurance coverage is meant to help us if we are hurt or our car is damaged. However, its primary function isn’t to earn you support.
Unless you have additional “first-party” coverage like med-pay, or collision, your auto insurance’s main function is to provide support for victims in an accident you caused or share some blame in.
Third-Party Vs. First-Party Spokane Insurance Coverage
The third-party liability portions of your insurance don’t cover the injuries and damages you suffer. Third-party coverage takes effect when someone is hurt by your negligence. It includes injury and property damage liability insurance for anyone you’ve caused harm to.
Another driver that’s been struck from behind by your car or someone who was bitten by your dog would file a third-party claim against you. They’d hope to get compensation for their medical bills and other losses.
First-party liability coverage does provide support to you after an accident, usually no matter who was at fault. Most first-party coverage comes in the form of add-ons to your policy that aren’t included with basic insurance in Washington.
First-party insurance includes these forms of coverage:
- Medical Payments Insurance (Med Pay) and Personal Injury Protection Insurance (PIP) – These coverages aren’t required in Washington, but they are included in some policies unless denied in writing. They help policyholders with their medical bills after an accident no matter who was at fault. Med Pay does not provide reimbursement for the wages you lose while missing work due to an injury. PIP coverage offers support for more than just hospital bills.
- Collision and Comprehensive Insurance – This bundled coverage is optional in Washington although some car loan lenders may require it when you lease or buy a new car. Collision pays for damage to your car after hitting another vehicle or an object. Comprehensive covers damages to your vehicle from other threats such as hail, hitting an animal, or theft.
- Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage – This coverage is usually included with your car insurance policy, but it can be declined in writing. Uninsured motorist coverage helps you when you’ve been struck by someone driving without insurance. Underinsured motorist coverage protects you if you are hit by someone with insurance that doesn’t cover all of your damages. The driver may be insured, but only with the bare minimum coverage. It may hit a limit before you’ve got all of your hospital bills paid off.
- Homeowner’s Insurance – This policy covers you in the event your home suffers damage or is destroyed. This covers fire and smoke damage, theft, vandalism, and weather damage. A homeowner’s insurance policy does carry some third-party coverage. Premises liability would protect the owner when someone not living at the address visits and is injured.
- Health Insurance – Standard Health Insurance is another example of first-party coverage because it helps you pay for medical care for yourself and your family.
What Can a Third Party Sue Me for After an Accident?
After an accident that you were to blame for, an injured party or the party’s insurance representative will file a third-party claim against your insurance company.
It might be following a car accident or someone’s slip-and-fall on your property. They would be looking for an insurance settlement to cover all hospital bills they’ve acquired and any that are expected in the future. Victims will show how much they’ve lost in wages while having to miss work. They will want this income reimbursed.
A victim may also ask for additional compensation for non-economic damages. These are damages that don’t come with a bill and that are harder to attach a monetary value to. They include the pain the victim has experienced from an injury and the emotional trauma endured in the accident and during recovery.
What an Insurance Company Owes You When a Third-Party Claim Is Filed
Your insurance company shouldn’t just receive an insurance claim and immediately pay it. They have a duty to you to make sure a claim against you isn’t a false claim.
Other drivers or accident victims may be hiding the fact that they bear some or all of the blame for their accident and injury. This is something your insurance representatives should investigate before they payout and raise your premiums.
Your insurance adjusters should work to determine who was actually responsible for the accident. The insurance company must defend the policyholder from a false claim. This could include hiring a lawyer to mount a defense in court against a lawsuit. The insurance company also agrees to pay out benefits after a settlement offer is accepted or through a courtroom judgment.
Don’t Accept Fault for a Spokane Accident You Weren’t to Blame For
Anytime you feel you are being unfairly blamed in an accident, it’s a good time to talk with a Spokane Personal Injury Lawyer. Your lawyer can investigate the facts of your case and often show that you owe the other party nothing at all.
It’s possible that you are actually the one who is in line for benefits. You would be filing a third-party claim of your own.
Another possibility is that it may be shown that you and the other party are both partly to blame in an accident. In Washington, two or more parties can have the liability in an accident divided between them.
You might have to accept half or less of the responsibility and the other party would assume the rest of the blame. The claim against you could be greatly reduced and you may even be able to secure partial compensation for your own injuries and hardships.
Your personal injury lawyer would fight to keep your percentage of the blame as low as possible. And in the best-case scenario, your lawyer would see that you bear no liability at all.
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer in Spokane
If you are injured and being unfairly targeted in a third-party claim, take advantage of a free consultation with CCD Law in Spokane to determine how to fight back. Don’t accept liability in an accident simply because an insurance company told you to. If you are injured, the other party’s insurance may be the one that should be providing compensation.
Speak with a Spokane Personal Injury Attorney serving and protecting Washington victims and their families. Contact us for a free strategy session to discuss your best options for getting everything you need in recovery after an accident and turning the tables on a third-party claim.