What’s the Difference between a First- And Third-Party Car Accident Claim?

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When you’re involved in an accident on Michigan’s roads, you can file a first-party claim with your own insurer to recover compensation for medical bills, lost income, and replacement services. However, this coverage is incredibly limited, so in some situations you may want to bring a third-party claim against the motorist responsible for causing the accident to recover compensation for pain and suffering and any other non-economic damages you suffered.

While first-party claims are often settled relatively quickly, pursuing legal action against another party can be a far more demanding undertaking. Not only will you need to prove that the other driver(s) was at least 50 percent responsible for causing the wreck, but your injuries will also need to meet the state’s threshold requirement for filing a third-party claim.

When Should I File a Third-Party Claim?

The answer to this question will depend on the unique circumstances surrounding the accident. In many situations, your own coverage will provide more than enough compensation to cover the losses you’ve incurred. However, if you suffered a particularly serious injury that meets Michigan’s “threshold”, it may be worth considering taking legal action.

Damages you can seek as part of a third-party claim can include:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Permanent disfigurement
  • Loss of enjoyment in life
  • Permanent Scarring

What Is the “Threshold Requirement”?

Beyond proving that the other motorist was at least 50 percent responsible for causing the collision, you will also need to show that your injury/injuries meet the “threshold requirement”. To qualify, your injuries must have led to serious bodily impairment that has inhibited your ability to lead a normal life.

The courts will usually consider a variety of factors in determining whether your condition checks this box, namely:

  • The wreck left you with an injury to an important body function. For instance, your injuries prevent you from returning to the same job you were doing prior to the accident.
  • Your injuries prevent you from leading a normal life.
  • Your condition meets criteria or factors considered necessary by the court.
  • The injury can be observed or perceived from actual conditions or symptoms.

When you file a third-party claim, you should expect opposing parties to argue over whether or not your injuries meet these criteria, which could lead to lengthy litigation. A skilled personal injury lawyer can provide tenacious representation throughout proceedings, helping you gather the necessary evidence to pass this “threshold” and recover the funds you need to get your life back on track.

Discuss Your Claim with a Car Accident Attorney in Detroit

If you suffered a serious injury that has had a detrimental effect on your quality of life, it may be in your best interests to pursue a third-party claim. At Seva Law Firm, we have extensive experience representing accident victims throughout Michigan, and can assist with almost every aspect of your case.

From investigating the accident and filing the necessary paperwork to providing guidance throughout proceedings, our team can fight tirelessly to help you achieve a favorable outcome. Contact us today at (248) 385-5704 or head over to our contact page HERE to request a free case review with a Detroit car accident attorney.