No matter how safe a driver you are, you could be involved in a car accident caused by another driver. You may be entitled to compensation for injuries you suffered in the crash under Virginia law. When deciding how to pursue your rights, you must understand the difference between a first-party and third-party auto collision claim.
Difference Between First- and Third-Party Auto Insurance Claims
Virginia is an at-fault state in regard to car accidents. This means that the negligent driver would be fully responsible for compensating you for your medical expenses, lost wages, property damages, and pain and suffering. There are two types of claims you may need to file:
- Third-party claim. A third-party claim is a claim you would file with the at-fault motorist's insurance company. In order to be entitled to compensation, you would need to prove the other driver's negligence, the seriousness of your injuries, and the amount of damages you should recover.
- First-party claim. A first-party claim is one filed with your own auto insurance company. The basis of your claim would be the contract between the insurance company and yourself. If you purchased collision or medical coverage, you may recover additional damages under these coverages.
How to Determine Whether to File a First- or Third-Party Insurance Car Crash Claim
It can be complicated to figure out whether you should file a first-party and/or third-party insurance claim and to reach a settlement with the insurance company on your own. You need the assistance of an experienced car accident lawyer to determine which claims you need to file and to go up against the insurance company to get the compensation you deserve.
You might be tempted to negotiate your settlement with the insurance company on your own to save the cost of attorney fees. However, this would be a big mistake. Your own insurance company might not treat you fairly if the value of your claim is large—which is likely if you suffered serious injuries. They could use unfair tactics to deny your claim or to pay you less money, just like the negligent driver's insurance company would do.
At Tavss Fletcher, we handle car accident cases on a contingency fee basis, which means that you would not owe us any attorney fees until we settle your claim or win your case at a jury trial. Contact our Norfolk office to schedule your free consultation to learn more about how we can assist you.