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What is a Third-Party in a Personal Injury Case?

When you suffer severe injuries due to the involvement of someone else, you may still be entitled to financial compensation. If there are possibly more parties involved than just one, what can your next step be in terms of possibly obtaining compensation for injuries and other damages? 

Luckily, there are claims such as third-party personal injury claims to hold more than one person liable if relevant to the incident. Injured individuals may still be entitled to file third-party claims in personal injury cases to obtain compensation for injuries that left them unable to work or continue their daily routines. What’s the difference between first-party and third-party personal injury claims? Continue reading to find out more about third-party personal injury claims, the types of cases covered, timelines, and of course, the possible compensation that may be provided.

Third-Party Personal Injury Claims

Filing a third-party personal injury claim holds a third-party responsible for injuries. In the case of these types of claims, the injured party alleges that the third party is responsible for causing their injuries, though the third party was not directly involved. The third party can be another individual, business, or entity. 

These types of personal injury claims can cover a variety of cases, but there are a few environments where these third-party claims particularly develop. Third-party claims are very common for workplace injuries. Because workers can often not sue their employers, their route may be to file a third-party personal injury claim for additional compensation past workers’ compensation benefits. For example, if using a certain tool at the time of their injury, the injured worker may choose to file a third-party personal injury claim against the manufacturer of that tool for compensation. 

 

What Types of Cases are Covered in Third-Party Personal Injury Claims? 

The types of cases covered in third-party personal injury claims can vary. Some of the most common types of cases that may involve third-party personal injury claims include: 

  • Workplace Injuries- Many employees injured on the job are entitled to workers’ compensation. However, they may also choose to file a third-party personal injury claim against a third party due to negligence, such as an independent contractor or equipment manufacturer. If injuries can be directly connected to another party, workplace third-party personal injury claims can be successfully filed with strong evidence. 
  • Medical Malpractice- Medical malpractice cases may sometimes involve multiple parties. For example, one injured party may file a third-party claim against the healthcare provider, hospital, or medical equipment manufacturer if there were tools involved in the injury. 
  • Car AccidentsThere may be third-party personal injury claims filed against the driver, passengers in the vehicle, and even other drivers if relevant. Third-party personal injury claims may also be filed against a manufacturer if there was a defective vehicle part involved in the initial incident. 
  • Premises Liability- Premises liability occurs when injuries occur from a dangerous condition on the property, such as wet floors, uneven or cracked flooring, and more. Third-party personal injury claims can be filed against property owners or other individuals in charge of maintaining the property. 
  • Product Liability- Another common personal injury case involving third-party claims are those concerning product liability. Product liability can encompass a defective product or products that were marketed incorrectly. Third-party claims concerning product liability can include the manufacturer, distributor, or seller of the product. 

 

What Steps Should I Take for a Third-Party Personal Injury Claim?

Are the steps of a third-party personal injury claim any different from a first-party claim? When filing a third-party personal injury claim, you will likely: 

  • Consult an Attorney
    Like with any other personal injury claim, you will sit down with a personal injury claim for a consultation on your case. This is crucial, as the attorney will advise you if you have a legitimate claim against a third party. 

  • Investigation
    If there is validity to your third-party claim, the attorney you choose to work with will get to work gathering evidence. Evidence can include testimonies, photos, police reports, and medical records. This investigation portion is also where damages will be assessed. 

  • Filing a Claim
    The personal injury attorney will then file a claim with the third party’s insurance company or file a lawsuit in court. 

  • Discovery 
    The discovery process is where both parties exchange information. This can include eyewitness testimonies, photos, and other documents highlighting the initial incident. 

  • Negotiation/Settlement
    After the discovery process, there will usually be attempts made at negotiation. Many personal injury cases do not make it to trial, as a settlement is often reached beforehand. If vital evidence comes out through the discovery process that emphasizes liability on the third party, this can cause a smoother negotiation process. 

  • Trial
    Though many personal injury cases are resolved in the negotiation process, some are not. Those cases that are unable to reach a settlement then proceed to court, where a judge or jury hears the claims and surveys the evidence to reach a conclusion in terms of liability and compensation.

Though this is the standard timeline for many personal injury cases, it is always best to never assume how things will go. The first thing to always do is sit down with an expert personal injury attorney to go over your third-party claim. They will best advise you on the next steps and ensure you are confident in building up the right claim for your unique case.

 

How Do You Prove Third-Party Claim Liability?

Many third-party claims are based on negligence, so proving this is what can determine liability. Sufficient evidence must be provided to prove liability and establish that claims against the third party are true. As an injured party, you have the burden of proving: 

  • Duty of CareThis means the third party had a legal duty to act with care to avoid causing you injury or harm. 
  • Breach of Duty- The third party’s acts or omissions failed the reasonable standard of care. 
  • Causation- As a result of the breach of duty, there was a direct or preceding cause of your injury. 
  • Damages- The third party’s breach of duty caused you to incur damages. 

Failure to prove the details above will make it impossible to prove the liability of a third party for your injuries. 

Possible Compensation For Damages in Third-Party Claims 

In all personal injury cases, injured parties are stating the liability of another party in order to possibly obtain financial compensation for damages incurred in an incident. Some of the possible compensation for damages in third-party personal injury claims include: 

  • Lost wages and benefits from being unable to work due to injury
  • Any past, current, or future medical bills from treating injuries sustained
  • Personal care and household expenses that resulted from financial losses due to injury and diminished capacities 
  • Long-term nursing care if needed 

The state of California acknowledges that some damages go past financial loss. Non-economic damages that may be compensated in third-party personal injury claims cover: 

  • Mental anguish
  • Emotional distress
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Impairments and disabilities
  • A decrease in the quality of life

Compensation amounts can vary for every personal injury case. The best thing to do is discuss your unique case with a dedicated personal injury attorney and see what options are available for you. 

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