When you’re involved in an accident caused by someone else, it should be their responsibility to pay the cost. However, making a third-party claim is rarely that simple. A claim against someone else’s insurance is called a third-party claim. Because you, the claimant, are the third party making a claim against another driver and their insurance policy. The way you carry out a third-party claim depends on many different factors. Including the cause of the accident and the state you live in. Take these steps to file a third-party claim in an accident that wasn’t your fault.
Protect Yourself at the Scene of the Accident
Proving the accident is the fault of the other driver is the most important part of avoiding a third-party claim denial. Any time you’re involved in an accident, it’s essential to take certain steps designed to protect yourself in the future. Even a small accident with minimal injuries is a large and frightening event. Making it difficult to maintain control of the situation. Still, your immediate actions can help to prove you weren’t at fault when the accident occurred. After seeking medical assistance for any injured parties and securing the scene from further damage, take these steps at the scene of the accident.
- Call 911, and report the accident.
- Exchange insurance information with the other driver. It’s important to maintain your civility during this step. If the other driver is unreasonable, stay in your vehicle until the police arrive.
- Contact your insurance provider. As soon as it’s feasible, contact your insurance provider and let them know what happened. You can also start the claim process immediately with your insurance provider’s mobile app.
- Take photos. Your smartphone provides you with valuable tools during the aftermath of the accident. Take photos of the damage to your car, damage to the other vehicle, and road conditions. You can also take pictures of the surrounding area. And anything you think might be relevant to proving you weren’t at fault.
- Gather information from all people present. Take a photo of other drivers’ insurance ID cards. Get names and phone numbers from all passengers and witnesses. Write down the name and badge number of the responding police officer.
Learn the Requirements of Your Insurance Policy
Surprisingly, when another driver slams into your car, the first step is not always to file a claim with their insurance. Instead, you’ll likely want to speak with your own insurance agent first, to learn what steps you should take to recover your losses. Massachusetts is a no-fault insurance state. This means you have coverage designed to protect you against the actions of other drivers. Here’s how it works.
- PIP coverage pays for injuries up to $8,000.
- Uninsured motorist coverage pays up to $20,000 for your injuries (or $40,000 per accident) caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver.
- Property damage coverage pays up to $5,000 in property damage in an accident caused by another driver.
In a no-fault state, you’re required to depend on your own policy to take care of the conditions above. However, there are other instances when your insurance policy can still be of assistance in a crash you didn’t cause. If you have collision insurance on your vehicle, you can use it for damage caused by someone else. Even though you’ll be required to meet your deductible, the overall cost may be less than pursuing a lawsuit against the other driver.
Take These Steps to File a Third-Party Claim Against Someone Else’s Insurance
Unfortunately, your PIP coverage and required property damage coverage may not be enough to cover your medical expenses or the damage done to your vehicle. When the other driver is at fault, you have the right to make a third-party claim against their policy to cover the additional expenses your insurance didn’t take care of.
- Visit your insurance agent. Discuss your situation with your independent insurance agent to learn how to proceed with the claim. You likely won’t need to talk directly with the other driver’s insurance agency. Instead, let your insurance adjuster or attorney do the talking.
- Make copies of all documents associated with the accident. This may include repair bills or estimates, medical bills, the police report, and any witness statements.
- Send copies of all documents to the other driver’s insurance company to support your claim.
What to Expect After You File the Third-Party Claim
With the help of your insurance agent, you may have decided to file a claim against the other driver’s insurance right away. This occurs when an accident causes severe injuries and property damage that is immediately visible at the scene. Otherwise, after determining the coverage provided by your own policy won’t provide the reimbursement you need, you’ll need to file a third-party insurance claim for the remainder of the damages. Here’s what you can expect when you file a third-party insurance claim.
Here’s what you can expect when you file a third-party insurance claim.
- A waiting period: The other driver’s insurer will take time to file the claim. They’ll also likely want to investigate to ensure the accident was legally the fault of their client.
- Reimbursement: If you’re unhurt and expecting payment for repairs to your vehicle, you’ll likely be required to get an estimate for the cost of repairs from your mechanic, or work with a shop in the insurer’s network. Keep in mind that the other driver’s insurance will only pay up to the amount the policy covers. Payment may come directly to you in the form of a check or be paid directly to the mechanic.
Top 5 FAQ Questions
Filing a Third-Party Claim Against Someone Else’s Car Insurance:
Why should I contact my insurance provider when the accident wasn’t my fault?
Massachusetts is a no-fault insurance state. This means your compulsory auto insurance coverage is designed to protect you against the actions of negligent drivers on the road. Contacting your insurance provider as soon as possible allows you to file a claim on your own insurance to cover medical costs up to the coverage limit of your policy. Your third-party claim with the other driver’s insurance company will provide coverage after your policy’s limits are exhausted if the other driver is proven to be at fault for the accident.
Will a third-party claim pay for all my medical bills and repairs?
Not necessarily. If your claim is approved, the other driver’s insurer will only pay up to the amount of coverage the policy includes.
How long will it take for my claim to be approved?
Insurers typically attempt to resolve a claim within 30 days. Depending on the details of your accident, your claim could be resolved earlier or later than average.
What types of evidence can I use to prove the other driver was at fault?
A variety of documents and testimonies can be used to prove the other driver was at fault in an accident. A police report that includes citations issued to the other driver indicates fault. Photos of damage to your vehicle taken at the scene of the accident can be useful as well. Injuries and eye-witness accounts are also valuable pieces of evidence.
Do I have to provide my medical records to the other driver’s insurer?
Your medical records may not be required to prove that the other driver is at fault (or liability). However, medical records are sometimes used to determine if treated injuries were indeed caused by the accident. It’s important to only include medical records directly related to the accident. You may wish to contact an attorney before sharing your medical records with an insurance company.
Filing a third-party insurance claim can seem difficult since you’re dealing with an unfamiliar insurance company. If you’re unsure about the process and your rights, it’s always a good idea to talk to your independent insurance provider for advice about the actions you can take to protect yourself. Depending on other drivers for adequate protection can be risky. Remember, no matter the damages, the insurance company will only pay up to the amount covered by the policy. To ensure you have the coverage you need, talk to your insurance provider about your own coverage and optional riders that can take care of auto insurance gaps.