Posted by Foster Law on October 6, 2015
If you have suffered a workplace injury and those involved were not your employers, you may be entitled to file a third-party liability claim. The following is a brief description of what a third party is and whether a third party liability claim may be sought.
In a workplace injury, the third party is someone other than a co-worker or employer. It could be a manufacturer, another individual, a municipality, another company or a vendor — anyone who, due to negligence, may have participated or caused the work-related injury or illness.
Third party liability transpires when a worker that has been injured or a person that has suffered a job-related illness makes a claim against someone other than their employer for monetary damages.
When you get injured at work or suffer from an occupational disease, you are generally covered by Workers' Compensation which compensates you for medical expenses and in some cases lost wages. However, Worker's Compensation does not cover you for continuing losses of income, for permanent medical disabilities or for long-term losses of income from the effects of a workplace illness or accident.
In these circumstances, ill or injured workers or, if there is a wrongful death, their surviving families, may bring a third party liability case against the negligent party. Any judgements or settlements received in a third-party liability or wrongful death case are over and above what is received from Workers' Compensation benefits. You cannot sue your employer if they have Workers' Compensation insurance, but in specific circumstances you can sue a third party for additional damages.
Yes, an injured or sick worker who is collecting Workers' Compensation benefits can bring a claim against a third party for suffering, pain, loss of life or for an injury received on the job.
The process is the same for anybody that brings a lawsuit in Washington State. To file a lawsuit, a claimant's representative would proceed with the necessary discovery process and in some cases the case could potentially be settled during this phase or if not, it will continue on to court.
When you file a claim against a third party for injury or illness on the job, it is important to be mindful of the association of the third-party claim to the Workers' Compensation claim you are involved with. These complex legal issues can be best handled by an experienced attorney.
If you are collecting Workers' Compensation benefits, you should speak with the attorney that is handling your Workers' Compensation case. At Foster Law, we review and evaluate every Workers' Compensation file to determine if there is the possibility of a third party liability action by obtaining as much information as we can about how our client became ill or was injured. Through that assessment process, we are then able to identify potential third parties and proceed accordingly.
If you have suffered a work-related injury or illness and are seeking a third party liability claim or workers' compensation benefits, please contact Foster Law, PC to schedule a free initial consultation. We are attorneys in Seattle, Washington with specific expertise in workers' compensation law and can help ensure that you receive the benefits you deserve. Call 206-682-3436 or fill out our online contact form for more information.