Although commercial truck accident cases are much more complex than those that involve passenger vehicles, the claims process for both types of accidents follow somewhat of a similar process. In this article, we are going to explain what a third-party claim is as well as what the claims process looks like when filing a claim with a commercial trucking company’s insurance carrier.
What is a third-party claim?
After a person has been involved in an accident with another driver and it is determined that the motorist was responsible for the crash, the individual has the right to file an accident claim with the driver’s insurance carrier. When a person files an accident claim with another driver’s insurer, not theirs, this is referred to as a third-party claim. Now, if you were to file a claim through your own insurer in an effort to utilize your policy benefits, this would then be considered a first-party claim.
Filing a third-party claim against a commercial trucking company’s insurance carrier.
Before a driver can collect any amount of compensation for the truck accident they were involved in, they must first file their claim with the trucking company’s insurance carrier. When you initiate the claims process, the insurer may ask for some, if not all, of the following information:
- The name of the at-fault truck driver, the company they work for, and the insurance policy number. Because the collision involved a commercial truck, the policy number you would be providing would likely belong to the trucking company.
- A copy of the official accident report.
- The contact information for any passengers who may have also suffered injuries.
- Photos of all damages.
- Details of accident-related injuries. This might include “dates of hospital/doctor visits, bills, doctors’ findings, X-rays, etc.”
Important: If the truck driver was working as an independent contractor at the time of the accident, then you would file your claim through their insurer, not the trucking company’s.
Once your claim is filed, the company will conduct an investigation to determine whether the driver was actually at fault for the accident and if the company is liable for covering your claim. Trucking companies are required to carry limits that are much higher than what the average driver must have which means you may be able to recover the full amount of money you are entitled to. However, you do need to keep in mind that many carriers often try and undervalue claims so the company doesn’t have to pay a large amount on any single claim.
What happens if the insurer denies my claim or doesn’t want to pay me the full amount I am due?
In the event you are unable to recover the full amount of compensation for your damages, there are a few different ways you can address the issue.
- You can “file a claim for the excess amount through your policy’s underinsured motorist coverage” [Source: Esurance].
If the trucking company’s policy will only cover a portion of your damages, you may be able to recover the rest by filing a claim under your policy. Now, you would be subject to paying any deductibles you might have on your policy before coverage would start.
- Hire a Fairfax, VA truck accident lawyer who can help you take legal action.
If you aren’t able to recover the compensation you are due from the trucking company’s insurer and you don’t want to file a claim under your own policy, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against the driver and/or the company. Many truck accident victims often seek restitution through a civil lawsuit when they are unsuccessful at recovering compensation from a trucking company’s insurer. The reality is, truck crashes often result in a person suffering serious or catastrophic injuries that require hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of medical treatment, something some carriers can’t afford to pay. Therefore, when a victim is unable to collect what they are due from an insurer, they proceed to take legal action.
If you were injured in an accident involving a commercial truck in Fairfax, VA and would like to know more about suing the trucking company and/or driver for compensation, contact the lawyers at Schleifman Law, PLC.
Schleifman Law, PLC is located at:
Schleifman Law, PLC
1600 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 905
Arlington, VA 22209