If you are injured by someone else’s negligence, then you can file a personal injury claim against that person and any relevant insurance policies they might hold. Even though it might sound overly technical, you will be filing a third-party lawsuit against them. A third-party lawsuit means that you are bringing a claim against a party that is wholly separate from you. Oppositely, if you have to file a claim against your own insurance provider, then you are filing a first-party claim or lawsuit.
The term “third-party lawsuit” often comes up when discussing workplace injuries and workers’ compensation. Usually, workers’ compensation allows a worker to use a first-party claim to get benefits without conflict or a question of liability. But if the worker has no workers’ compensation coverage or their injury was caused by a third-party, then compensation might only be pursuable through a third-party lawsuit.
To make a third-party lawsuit work, a few basic steps will be followed:
- Identifying the liable party
- Uncovering relevant insurance policies
- Calculating the damages owed to the plaintiff
- Creating an injury claim
- Filing the complaint in pursuit of compensation
If the defending party does not accept liability and does not want to pay a fair settlement to the claimant, then the claim will need to be escalated to a lawsuit. At that point, the lawsuit will be prepared and filed with the correct court, which will eventually set a court date to hear the legal contest. Before the trial, there will be discovery processes that allow both sides to review the evidence and potentially negotiate another settlement.
Assuming no settlement is possible, the third-party lawsuit will continue, and the trial will commence. Arguments will be brought before the court. In some cases, a jury will be used to hear the evidence and reach a verdict, rather than just a judge. By the end of the trial, the case will be decided. If it favors the plaintiff, then the court or jury will also decide a fair amount of compensation to be paid by the defendant, which can later be challenged or reduced based on a state’s damage caps.
Do You Need a Lawyer for a Third-Party Lawsuit?
You do not need to hire an attorney to file a third-party lawsuit, but it is always highly recommended. Lawyers can guide you through all of the legal nuances of lawsuits, courtroom procedures, liability laws, and injury claims. If you let your attorney act on your behalf, then you can use all of their experience, talents, and knowledge as if they were your own. When in doubt at all about your case and financial recovery, you should get a personal injury lawyer on the phone right away.