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When to File a Third Party Claim after a Car Accident & How It Works


A third party car accident claim is when you file a claim with the other driver’s insurance company after a car accident. This is different from a first party claim, where you would file for damages through your own insurance.

It’s important to know when to file a third party claim, how the process works and what type of evidence will be necessary.

When to File a Third Party Claim after a Car Accident

Each state follows no-fault or at-fault accident rules. In a no-fault state, those who are in an accident file a claim with their own insurance company no matter who was at fault. But in an at-fault state, such as Indiana, the accident victim will file a claim with the insurance company of the driver responsible for the crash.

Although there may be an option to file a claim with your own insurance company if you have certain types of coverage, a third party claim is often your primary resource for recovering damages when someone else’s negligence caused the accident.

This is why it’s so important to get the driver’s name and insurance information at the scene of the crash. Although that individual should let their insurance company know about the accident, it is up to you to submit a claim. 

The Process of a Third Party Liability Claim

It’s important to contact the other driver’s insurance company as soon as possible by telephone. You might also consider sending a written notice to the insurer as a follow-up. Let the insurance company know the accident occurred with its policyholder and provide the insurance adjuster basic details surrounding what happened.

The insurance company may agree that its policyholder is responsible. But this usually isn’t the case, at least not initially. It will likely want to conduct its own investigation to determine who was at fault.

During the claims process, there may be little or a lot of communication with the insurer. This depends on the complexity of the case. It’s important to remember that the insurer will want to protect its own interests, so getting the insurance company to settle might come with some challenges. But as long as you have substantial evidence that shows their policyholder was at fault, you should be able to resolve the case.

There are some things you should be cautious about when dealing with the other insurance company after a serious crash, though. The first is to never agree to provide a written or recorded statement about the accident without first consulting an attorney.

Although an adjuster might come across as wanting to hear your side to get all of the facts straight, this can be damaging to your case. Adjusters may attempt to twist things that you say.

Another thing to avoid is signing a release of your medical records without first consulting your lawyer. The only medical information the insurer needs is what’s relevant to the accident. By allowing an insurance company access to all of your records, there is the risk that an adjuster may blame your current injuries on pre-existing ones, or otherwise damage your case.

If the claims process starts to get problematic, there is a dispute concerning fault, or the injuries were serious, seek legal advice. Although most minor third party claims can be handled without legal counsel, some circumstances may benefit from an attorney’s help.

Evidence Necessary in a Third Party Car Accident Claim

To be successful with a third party claim, there must be adequate evidence that shows the other driver was at fault.

A copy of the police report which may show a citation given to the other driver; photographs of the accident scene, damaged vehicles and injuries; and eyewitness accounts are all viable pieces of evidence that can help you establish fault and your damages. Your medical records can also help you establish your injuries.

Hensley Legal Group can help Indiana drivers who must file a third party liability claim with an at-fault driver’s insurer. Call us to set up your appointment at (317) 472-3333.