After a Colorado car accident, first-party claims are filed with one’s own insurance company, and third-party claims with that of the at-fault party.

Two Kinds of Insurance Claims Often Filed After a Colorado Accident

When a motorist buys an automobile insurance policy, he or she becomes “the party of the first part,” meaning that any claim they submit to the company for payment is a first-party claim. The insurance company is “the party of the second part.” If an auto accident occurs that was caused by someone else and a claim is filed, that someone else is known as “the third party.”

When someone sustains injuries in a car accident in Colorado, there are two kinds of claims they can typically file to recover compensation for damages. Which kind they file depends on the type of accident, who was at fault, and the insurance coverage of the parties involved.

First-Party Claims

If you cause an accident while driving your own vehicle, you should file a first-party claim with your own auto insurance company. However, because liability coverage is intended to pay for the other party’s damages in an accident that you caused, you cannot make a first-party claim against the liability coverage of your own policy.

To file a first-party claim, you must call your insurance company as soon as possible after the accident and provide the date, location, and other important facts about the accident that will affect your claim. If you’re filing a property damage claim in addition to an injury claim, you will receive two individual claim numbers. Your claim will be assigned to an adjuster, who will contact you within a few days and probably ask you to record a statement. You won’t be required to talk to the claims adjuster until you are ready to do so, and you have the right to confer with an attorney before submitting to any recorded interviews.

Third-Party Claims

Injured persons not at fault for an accident — such as a pedestrian hit by a car or a passenger in a car involved in an accident — are entitled to file a third-party claim with the responsible driver’s insurance company.

In general, third-party claims are filed directly with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. To bring such a claim, you need the name and insurance information of the at-fault driver, a copy of the accident report, the contact information of any injured passengers, photographs of the damages, and details about accident-related injuries.

After a third-party claim is filed, it proceeds much like a claim with your own insurer, albeit with a few notable differences. Before the claim is paid, most insurance companies will contact the at-fault driver to get their perspective. If the at-fault driver doesn’t have sufficient coverage to pay all of your accident-related expenses, you will usually have two options: file a claim for the excess through your policy’s underinsured motorist coverage or talk to an attorney about bringing a personal injury claim for damages.

The possibility that you may have to pay your own damages for an accident that wasn’t your fault is frustrating. If you or a loved one have been injured in an accident because of another driver’s negligence, contact Dan Rosen at (303) 454-8000 or (800) ROSEN-911 to schedule your free initial consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney.

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