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What Is Third-Party Insurance in California?

Third-party insurance is the property damage and injury liability coverage we all carry on our car insurance policies in California. It’s the portion of your coverage that protects you from claims filed by other people (third parties) against you after an accident.

Someone injured in any sort of personal injury accident they think was caused by you would file a third-party claim against your liability insurance provider.

This liability coverage is meant to protect your finances when someone holds you liable for an accident, but that doesn’t mean you have to accept blame for an accident you don’t feel you caused.

Third-Party Insurance for California Drivers

Auto insurance provides the best example of third-party insurance. If your negligence hurts someone on the road, victims would file a claim against your insurer. This provides patients with the care they need and at the same time protects you financially from paying for their recovery costs that might bankrupt you.

This third-party coverage doesn’t actually provide benefits to you if you are hurt or your vehicle is damaged. It’s only meant for the other victims in your accident if it can be proven that you were liable.

There are two types of mandatory third-party auto insurance that people can purchase in California:

  • Injury liability insurance – This protects victims who were your passengers and drivers and passengers in other vehicles. Injured pedestrians, motorcyclists, and bicyclists also draw from this coverage. The coverage also applies to those tragically killed in an accident. The victim’s family would file a wrongful death claim against your insurance company.
  • Property damage liability insurance – This portion of your auto policy pays for the victim’s vehicle damage and any damage to personal property.

Homeowner’s insurance also carries third-party insurance protection. This would cover you if someone visits your property and suffers an injury. Homeowner’s insurance also provides a good example of “first-party” insurance with the coverage that protects your family if your home were damaged or destroyed.

First-Party Insurance Coverage For California Drivers

You may seek to earn insurance support after you’ve been injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault. One option would be to file a third-party claim of your own against the at-fault party. In certain situations, you might also have to depend on your own insurance policy for your support through first-party coverage.

In the case of car insurance, first-party coverage is often optional coverage you can add to your basic protection in California. Med Pay is a good example. It provides medical care support to you and your family after an accident, no matter who was responsible. It isn’t mandatory and must be chosen by the policyholder.

Uninsured/Underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM) also isn’t required in California, but it is included with most policies unless it is declined in writing. This is also an example of first-party coverage. It gives you an option if you are hit by a driver with no insurance or your accident is caused by a hit-and-run driver that eludes capture.

UM/UIM coverage allows you to file a claim against your personal car insurance policy to receive help with your hospital bills and lost income while away from work. It’s also helpful if the at-fault driver has insurance but the limits on it are very low. It might fall far short of covering every recovery bill you have.

Collision and Comprehensive Insurance is another type of first-party coverage and helps with your car repairs no matter who was at fault, or if you hit an inanimate object. It’s also helpful if your car is stolen or damaged by natural causes.

Your Insurance Company’s Responsibility When Facing a Third-Party Claim

Paying your insurance premiums earns you the right to certain protections from your insurance company. Your provider owes it to you to defend you when someone tries to falsely blame you for an accident.

You may not have been responsible in any way for a collision or an injury to someone visiting your home. That doesn’t mean another insurance company won’t try to get you to accept responsibility.

Your insurance representatives should promptly and thoroughly investigate the incident and defend you if you truly weren’t at fault. They also owe it to you to provide legal representation if your innocence must be proven in court.

If you are found fully or partially to blame, the insurance company is bound to pay an agreed-upon insurance settlement amount or a judgment awarded in court. This should allow you to avoid having to pay out of pocket for the damages. Unfortunately, you’ll usually see your insurance premiums go up though.

Compensation Available Through a Third-Party Claim

Having an insurance company on your side, or even better, a personal injury lawyer, helps make sure you don’t get unfairly blamed for someone else’s mistake.

This is critical to your financial wellbeing because a victim filing a third-party claim against you can demand quite a bit in support. A claim may potentially be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. Your insurance adjuster may pay it, but a lot of that money will be recovered through the higher premiums you’ll be charged.

These are just a few of the factors that will likely determine how much your insurance provider must provide to victims:

  • Total on hospital and rehabilitation expenses.
  • Costs associated with a permanent physical disability such as the loss of sight, mobility, hearing, or the amputation of a limb.
  • Physical pain and emotional distress. Chronic pain and emotional anguish can earn victims more in compensation.
  • Earnings forfeited while the victim has been out of work.
  • Damage or destruction of property.

Don’t Take the Blame for an Accident You Didn’t Cause

Don’t ever feel like you must accept what someone else’s insurance representative says. If you feel you weren’t responsible for an accident you should seek legal counsel.

If you were hurt in the accident as well, you may feel you are owed compensation by the person who has directed a third-party claim against you. A personal injury lawyer will investigate the scene of your accident, examine police reports, talk to witnesses, and secure documents that may show you were the true victim.

Your personal injury lawyer would work to see that a third-party claim is dropped altogether or at least negotiate to reduce the percentage of blame you are assigned. Your lawyer would also turn around and file a third-party claim against the other party’s auto insurance provider. This would work to ensure you have what you need to recover physically and financially from an accident.

Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer in California

If you or a loved one were injured in a traffic accident, an accident on someone else’s property, or any other sort of mishap caused by someone’s negligence, speak with a California attorney.

You may be in need of urgent financial support to pay your hospital bills and support your family. Maison Law of California understands these basic needs and fights to make sure you don’t get stuck with unfair blame while you’re trying to earn fair support.

Contact attorney Martin Gasparian for a free, no-obligation case consultation. Mr. Gasparian works with victims to make sure they are never held accountable for someone else’s negligence. He helps victims and their families secure what’s fair after an accident and makes sure they have everything they need to rebuild their lives.

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