If you have been injured in some kind of accident, whether it is a slip and fall, car crash or something else, you may have encountered the term third party. That term is used constantly in the legal field, but can sound like jargon to the average person. So what exactly does it mean?
Third party refers to the at-fault party and their insurance company. It does not apply to your own insurance company; that is considered first party since they are more or less an extention of you.
Filing a third-party claim means you are requesting compensation from the policy held by the at-fault party. Sometimes, though, third party can refer to another company who is deemed to be at-fault for an accident. This occurs in workplace accidents, and can be a good things since Washington state law prohibits employees from suing their employer.
The Importance of a Third Party
There are a few key factors in making an injury claim. You need to be able to prove there was negligence, damages, and there needs to be an insurer against whom to make a claim. Insurance can come in the form of car insurance, homeowner's insurance, umbrella insurance or the liability insurance on a buisiness poilicy. Most of the time, if there is no third party insurance, there is no case.
There is the chance that someone may have personal assets that could come into play if they don't have an insurance policy to cover the damages they are responsible for, but that is extremely uncommon. That means, effectively, you need a third party to make a claim.
Examples of 'Third Party' Being Used
The most common palce we see the term 'third party' being used is in claim rejection letters from L&I. It can be confusing for someone who has no experience with injury claims. In that context it means that someone other than the employer is likely responsible for the accident. Those letters may seem like bad news on the surface, but since Washington state law prevents employees from suing their employer it opens up a lot more recovery options for the injured victim.
The other place you would be likely to encounter the term being used is on a legal blog like this one, or in a conult or meeting with a legal team. When explaining the rights or the process of making a claim, the term thrid party will very likely come up when discussing the different insurance policies that could come into play. A good legal team will explain what it means and why it's important.
Contact Davis Law Group
If you have been injured in an accident and need to know more about your legal rights and options for recovery, contact the award-winning team at Davis Law Group. You can submit a contact form on this page or use the chat, or you can call us at 206-727-4000.