Steps to Take After a Car Accident and Filing a Claim Against the Other Party's Insurance

One option for fixing your car may be a third-party insurance claim.

One option for fixing your car may be a third-party insurance claim.

An auto accident will plunge you into a maze of challenges, legally, emotionally and possibly physically. How you proceed with an insurance claim depends on who is at fault and the amount and type of your own insurance coverage. A third-party claim is a claim with the other driver's insurance company for damage to your car and injuries you suffered in the wreck.. You can file against the other driver's insurance if he is substantially at fault.

Dial 9-1-1 to contact local emergency services. Tell the contact person that you’ve been involved in an accident. If you need additional emergency services other than the police – such as an ambulance or fire department – tell the operator. Don’t move any vehicles until the police arrive so you won’t alter the accident scene.

Provide your driver’s license and insurance card to the police officer who arrives at the scene. Explain what happened. You may need to complete an accident report. Keep your report – either verbal or written – concise and objective and under no circumstances admit fault.

Ask for contact information from the other driver. Get his insurance information as well. Take notes about the other car involved – car make, model and year.

Take pictures of your car, the other driver’s car and the scene of the accident. If there are skid marks on the pavement, take pictures of them, too.

Contact your own insurance company and let it contact the other driver's insurance company. In some cases they will tell you to contact the other driver's insurance company to pursue a third-party claim, but more often your insurer will do this on your behalf. Provide details of the accident, including the other driver’s name and contact information, your contact information and copies of the police reports. If the police issued a citation to the other driver for liability in the accident, this will make your third-party claim more likely to be accepted by the other driver's insurance company.

Cooperate with the claims adjuster during the investigation. Answer questions and make your car available for inspection to facilitate a timely claims decision. If the insurance company requests repair estimates, provide as many estimates as requested.

Sign a release for damages if the insurance company offers a claim settlement that meets with your approval. This release stipulates your agreement that you will not pursue any further damage claims against the insurance company.


  • If your state has a comparative negligence law, you can claims third- party reimbursement only if you are less than 50 percent at fault.
  • If the insurance company denies your claim, you can file a lawsuit against the other driver or the driver’s insurance company.
  • You cannot pursue a third-party claim if you live in a no-fault insurance state.

About the Author

Kathryn Hatter is a veteran home-school educator, as well as an accomplished gardener, quilter, crocheter, cook, decorator and digital graphics creator. As a regular contributor to Natural News, many of Hatter's Internet publications focus on natural health and parenting. Hatter has also had publication on home improvement websites such as Redbeacon.

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