Third-Party Claims in Orange County, California

As top personal injury lawyers in Orange County, we’ve seen it all. No personal injury case is too complex for us to handle, regardless of how many parties are involved. Ready to get the compensation you deserve? Call Case Barnett Law at 949-409-0055 for a free consultation. 

Part of growing into adulthood is accepting that some events are more complex than they seem. However, during stressful situations like car accidents, critical thinking tends to leave most people and emotions grow heightened. As you might imagine, this is not the best time to determine who’s at fault

Even after you’ve recovered from the initial shock of an accident, figuring out who is ultimately responsible for your injuries can be tough. In some cases, there’s more than one person at fault, or the negligent party is a group or business rather than an individual. So, how do you know who to sue? 

The best way to understand all of your legal options is to consult with an expert. As top Orange County personal injury lawyers, we’re happy to review your situation during a free consultation. Until then, keep reading to learn if you qualify for a third-party injury claim. 

Did you know that hiring one of our personal injury lawyers won’t cost you a dime upfront? That’s right. The attorneys at Case Barnett Law work on a contingency fee basis, meaning we don’t get paid unless — and until — you do. Contact us online to get started. 

image of someone getting medical assistance after injury in California

First-Party vs. Third-Party Injury Claims 

First-party and third-party injury claims refer to who you sue. It can be helpful to think of a first-party claim as a lawsuit that deals with the party directly responsible for your accident and a third-party claim as a lawsuit addressing the party who is indirectly responsible. 

For example, suing the driver who T-boned you at an intersection would involve a first-party claim. However, suing that driver’s insurance company would be a third-party claim. It’s all about proximity to the party, and because the insurer wasn’t directly involved in your accident, it is considered a third party. 

Whereas first-party defendants tend to be another person, third-party defendants are more likely to be an entity. Here are some examples of who you might sue in a third-party claim other than an insurance company: 

  • A person’s employer. Sometimes, employees inadvertently cause accidents as a result of their employers' negligent practices. Take, for example, a commercial truck driver that falls asleep at the wheel and causes an accident. If they were tired because their employer forced them to drive for too long or without sufficient breaks, the liability may ultimately lie with the employer. 
  • A manufacturer. Suppose your child suffered a bottle warmer burn at daycare. You might want to sue the daycare employee responsible for your child’s care, which would be a first-party claim. However, suppose that particular brand of bottle warmer was defective, and the manufacturer knew it routinely fell apart. You may consider suing the manufacturer in this situation. 
  • A maintenance contractor. Imagine you slip and fall on a patch of ice directly outside your apartment building's door, suffering serious injuries. You may initially want to sue the building manager, but then you find out he has consistently hired and paid for a maintenance contractor to spread ice salt and clear the sidewalk. In this scenario, you may decide to sue the contractor who failed to perform their duties. 

At the end of the day, determining liability isn’t so simple. That’s why most injury victims benefit from discussing the particulars of their case with an experienced lawyer. The team at Case Barnett Law can map out the details of your case and determine the party or parties from whom you may be eligible to receive compensation.

Filing a Third-Party Injury Claim in California

If you’ve ever suffered a serious injury, you know that getting back on your feet can take some time. You may not feel like wading into legal issues and prefer to just concentrate on recovery. Although that’s a very reasonable stance to take, it’s important you understand that there is a time limit to file a claim. 

In California, injury victims have two years from the date of the accident to file a claim, including a third-party claim. However, certain types of claims have an even shorter time limit, which means it’s critical to talk to a personal injury lawyer as soon as you can. If you let the deadline go by, you risk never receiving the compensation you deserve for recovery. 

After you partner with a trusted personal injury lawyer and determine the liable party, the next step will be to calculate your losses. Be aware that damages aren’t always economic and can refer to intangible damages as well. 

A personal injury lawsuit may help you recover the following types of losses: 

  • Medical bills
  • Loss of wages (current and future)
  • Injury-related expenses
  • Pain and suffering
  • Disability or disfigurement
  • Reduced quality of life

This is by no means a comprehensive list but rather a spectrum of losses resulting from your accident. They are also losses that have the potential to decimate your future if you don’t receive the compensation needed to recover. 

Case Barnett Law: Top Orange County Personal Injury Lawyers

Here’s the reality: Most personal injury victims don’t want to sue. They’re not trying to get rich quickly or take advantage of a bad situation. They simply can’t pay for their medical bills, missed paychecks, damaged property, and other losses without getting compensation from the at-fault party. And that’s where we come in. 

Personal injury lawyers exist for the sole purpose of making sure an injury victim’s life isn’t ruined by someone else’s negligence. At Case Barnett Law, we act as intermediaries and take every necessary legal action to ensure our clients are compensated fairly. 

Ready to explore your options? Contact us online to schedule a free consultation or give us a call at 949-409-0055.

Case C. Barnett
Costa Mesa Personal Injury Attorney practicing in child injury law, car accident injuries and elder abuse law