Workplace accidents, including fatal ones, harm thousands of U.S. workers each year. Statistics published by the Department of Labor show that injuries can occur at any type of job. Falls, carpal tunnel syndrome, burn injuries and car accidents are all common reasons why workers suffer injuries on the job.
If you aren’t a railroad worker, or a Jones Act Seaman, then you are likely covered by the state’s workers’ compensation laws. Workers’ compensation laws allow injured workers to obtain monetary benefits for covering lost income and medical expenses. This law is found at Title 51 of the RCW, in these circumstances, you may file a claim or recover benefits through the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries or if your employer is self-insured you can file with a third-party administrator, like Sedgwick Claims. Workers may also file a claim for occupational illnesses.
However, because injured workers can recover benefits through workers’ comp, employers receive extra protection from civil lawsuits filed by their workers.
You generally cannot sue your employer for a workplace accident, but there are rare exceptions. If your employer’s conduct was particularly egregious and intentional, and you can prove a deliberate intent to harm, and you suffered damages as a result, then you may be able to seek compensation by filing a lawsuit directly against your employer.
Third Party Claims for Workplace Injuries in Washington
Many injured workers may not realize that they still have options to file claims against third parties. These are parties who are not your employer or a coworker, such as a contractor or the driver of another vehicle. If you can show this third party’s negligence caused your workplace accident, and you suffered damages, then you could recover compensation through this third party.
Workers may also have a viable third-party claim if they are working for a company on behalf of a temp agency, and that company’s negligence leads to an accident that causes damages.
Third party claims have multiple advantages. First, some third-party claims are worth a lot of money, and will provide far more compensation than what you could have recovered through workers’ comp by itself.
You can also receive benefits through a workers’ comp claim and compensation through a third-party claim. Filing a third party claim does not bar you from recovering workers’ comp, but you will have to pay back benefits you received if your third party claim results in a settlement or verdict.
Do I Need an Attorney for a Third Party Claim?
You do have the option for taking action against the third party without an attorney, but this is not advisable. There are plenty of paperwork errors you could make during the beginning stages of the claim process. It is also easy to make mistakes with insurance companies that could lead to your claim being reduced or denied. An attorney can help you avoid these common pitfalls.
Examples of Third Party Claims in Washington
There are a number of different ways a third party can injure or kill workers. Third party claims may involve parties that include:
- Other drivers
- Product manufacturers
- Employees working for other companies
- Other companies working on the same job site
- Pet owners
- Property owners
About Our Seattle Third Party Claim Lawyers
Work injury lawyer Zach Herschensohn can help you review options for recovering compensation after a workplace accident. You should never depend on insurance companies to cover your damages in full.
Depending on the circumstances surrounding your accident, it may be possible to hold other parties accountable for paying your damages. Zach can speak with you during a free consultation to help you figure out whether this is a possibility for your situation. To schedule a free consultation, call us at (206) 588-4344 or use our online case review form.