First- and third-party personal injury claims typically refer to insurance claims rather than lawsuits. First-party injury claims involve filing a claim with your insurer, while third-party claims involve filing a claim against another party.
If an insurance claim doesn’t settle, you may file a lawsuit. In a third-party claim, that might mean suing another driver, a business, property owners, or product manufacturers. Our personal injury lawyers can explain your options.
You Sue Your Insurer in First-Party Injury Claims
In a first-party claim, you file an injury claim with your insurer to recover damages under your policy. Some situations in which you might pursue a first-party claim include:
- You were in an accident with a hit-and-run driver.
- The driver in your accident was uninsured or underinsured.
- You were at fault for an accident.
What your insurer covers depends on your policy terms. For instance, personal injury protection (PIP) can provide some compensation regardless of who was at fault. Uninsured/underinsured Motorist coverage applies if you’re hit by a driver with insufficient coverage. However, you only receive compensation up to your policy limits.
These examples are for auto accidents, but other situations can involve first-party claims. For instance, homeowners insurance can cover issues like fire, water damage, or natural disasters. In these cases, you may need to file a first-party claim with your homeowner’s insurance.
When You Can Sue Your Insurance Company
You can sue your insurance company in a first-party claim. In principle, if your injuries or losses are covered by your insurance policy, you should receive the compensation you deserve. In practice, some companies don’t uphold their end of the bargain. If that happens, they act in bad faith and open themselves up to a lawsuit.
Examples of bad faith include:
- Not conducting an investigation of your claim
- Requiring you to jump through unnecessary hoops to receive compensation
- Deliberately undervaluing your claim
- Denying your claim without a legitimate reason
- Deliberately stalling or dragging out the claims process
- Pressuring, bullying, or intimidating you
Your insurance agreement is just that: an agreement between two parties. When one of the parties doesn’t adhere to their side of the agreement, you might have grounds to sue.
Parties You Can Sue in Third-Party Injury Claims
Just like with first-party injury claims, third-party injury claims typically refer to insurance claims rather than lawsuits. Instead of filing with your insurer, you file with the at-fault party’s insurer to recover losses from an accident. This type of personal injury claim can apply to:
- Auto accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Truck and bus accidents
- Slip and falls
- Dog bites
Suing Insurance Companies
Also akin to first-party claims, an insurance company can operate in bad faith in third-party claims. If you experience any bad faith tactics when filing a third-party claim, you can file a lawsuit against the insurance company to recover the compensation you’re entitled to receive.
Even if the insurer behaves as they should, a case might not resolve through the claims process. The insurer and negligent party might dispute your losses and injuries or claim they weren’t at fault. Some accidents might not even involve insurance if the liable party did not carry it. In that case, you can sue them directly.
Suing Other Drivers
In roadway accidents—involving other cars, trucks, bicycles, motorcycles, or pedestrians—you can file a lawsuit against another party if their negligence caused you harm. Grounds include:
- Drunk driving
- Distracted driving
- Aggressive driving
- Failure to yield
- Drowsy driving
Sometimes, both parties share fault. However, the other driver might try to blame another party or you for more than your fair share to avoid paying their part. These disputes can prompt a lawsuit filing.
Suing Companies and Businesses
You can file a third-party personal injury claim or lawsuit against a company or business in addition to another party, like a driver, or alone. For example, someone who causes an accident while driving a company car is often covered by their company’s insurance. As an employee, their actions might also make their employer liable in a suit.
You can sue a business if they:
- Were negligent in their hiring and training of employees
- Failed to enforce rules and regulations
- Failed to warn of risks or hazards
- Share liability with their employees, like truck drivers
- Failed to take adequate precautions to avoid an accident
These negligent acts can apply to several situations, from collisions with commercial trucks to construction site accidents.
When suing large businesses or even pursuing a third-party insurance claim, you may face stiffer opposition, as companies are often prepared to fight any attempt to blame them for accidents.
Suing Property Owners
You can file a third-party claim with a property owner’s insurance for accidents stemming from their failure to maintain the premises. If all parties fail to reach a settlement or the property owner doesn’t have sufficient insurance coverage, you can sue for:
- Slip and falls
- Failing to maintain roadways
- Construction accidents
- Malfunctioning equipment injuries
- Weather-related risks
- Dog bites and pet attacks
In some cases, you can sue a government entity for their failures as property owners. For example, if you were in a car accident because of a pothole or a poorly designed intersection, you can hold a city or state liable with a claim or suit.
Suing Product Manufacturers
Product liability cases often inspire third-party lawsuits. They include:
- Defective drugs and medical equipment
- Faulty consumer products like toys or electronics
- Design flaws
- Manufacturing defects in auto parts
Faulty airbags, defective batteries, and hernia mesh are examples of grounds for suing a product manufacturer. If a large number of people are hurt by a product manufacturer, victims can work together on a mass tort lawsuit. Our attorneys can help determine if you qualify.
A Personal Injury Lawyer Can Explain Your First- and Third-Party Claim Options
If you were hurt by someone who acted carelessly, you can recover compensation through first- or third-party personal injury claims. If an insurance claim isn’t an option or your claim fails to settle, KJT Law Group can help you file a lawsuit against an insurer or another party. We do all the work, from filing the paperwork to creating a case strategy.