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Tips for Filing a Workers' Compensation Claim and Suing a Third Party

Posted by Christine Foster on December 23, 2014

What to do if a third party causes a workplace injury.

If you are injured during the course of employment or suffer from an occupational disease in the State of Washington, you cannot sue your employer or co-workers. If someone else other than your employer or a co-worker caused the injury, however, you may be entitled to additional compensation via a third-party claim. A third party that caused your injury is required by law to pay for your medical treatment and other expenses. The following are some examples of third parties in workers' compensation cases:

  • The owner of an animal that bit you
  • A property owner who didn't properly maintain the building where you were injured
  • The driver of a vehicle that hit you
  • A company that manufactured the defective products or machinery that caused your injury

Let's say you are a pizza delivery driver and are rear-ended by another driver who is not your employer or co-worker and are injured as a result. In this case, you could file both a workers' compensation claim with the Washington Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) and a third-party claim. A third-party claim is actually a personal injury claim that arises out of the same incident as a workers' compensation claim. 

How to Take Legal Action Against a Third Party

If you want to take action against a third party, you can do so with the help of a workers' compensation attorney in Seattle. If you are already receiving workers' compensation benefits, your benefits will continue while you pursue legal action. Your benefits won't be stopped or changed until, or unless, you receive compensation from the third party. You must report the amount of the third-party settlement offered to you to L&I because you are required to repay the benefits you received from L&I after you were injured.

Third-party claims are typically worth a lot more than L&I benefits. When a third-party settlement is made, the funds are distributed according to a formula set by Washington State law. The formula distributes the funds to you, your attorney if you have one, and L&I to reimburse them for the amount of the claim benefits. This is because L&I has already paid you for your workers' compensation claim and wants to recover some of that money from you when you collect your third-party settlement. Depending on the amount of your third-party settlement, the payment of your L&I benefits may stop after you receive the settlement but they could resume.

Request a Free Consultation with a Seattle Workers' Compensation Attorney

If you have been injured on the job by a third party, don't hesitate to take action. Contact Foster Law, P.C. today for help filing a workers' compensation claim and seeking additional compensation from a third party. An experienced Seattle workers' compensation attorney can provide you with legal guidance and ensure that the claims process runs as smoothly as possible. Call 206-682-3436 or fill out our online contact form to set up a free consultation with the knowledgeable workers' compensation lawyers at Foster Law, P.C.

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