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Third Party Claims (WC)

You have a third party claim if you are injured on the job by someone who is not your employer or a co-employee. An example is the working delivery driver who is rear ended on the highway, by someone who is not his employer or co-employee. He has both an L&I claim and a third party claim. The same is true of a subcontractor injured by the general or a different subcontractor.

A third party claim is a personal injury claim together with an L&I claim, arising out of the same facts. When you have both the personal injury claim is called a third party claim.

A third party claim can be a good thing because you can have two claims, both L&I and third party. Some third party claims can be worth a lot of money.

The downside of a third party claim is that L&I or the insurance company has a lien on your third party recovery. That means because they have paid money on your L&I claim they will get some of that money back from you when you recover on the third party claim. The exact amount they get from you is subject to the worksheet formula, and possible compromise. Compromise is difficult because L&I or the self insured has lien rights which are stronger than state subrogation rights. Sometimes the amount they take is shockingly large. Sometimes the third party settlement will ruin the remaining L&I claim because it creates an offset. Understand how this formula applies to your case before you consider settling any third party claim. Also beware of personal injury attorneys who are clueless about this interrelationship between L&I claims and Third Party claims. Insist they explain to you how the offset works and how much it will be. If they cannot or take no interest in what you’re saying they could unintentionally ruin your L&I claim. Be careful.

Can I sue my employer? 

Unlikely, but check out CAN I SUE MY EMPLOYER?

Can I sue someone else for an injury or occupational disease?

  • L&I claim: Yes, if you have a third party claim.
  • No L&I claim: Yes, this would technically be a personal injury claim.

What if I’m not at fault?

  • L&I claim? Not being at fault means nothing. L&I claims are no fault claims, so your fault or lack there of means nothing. 
  • Third party claim? Third party claims are negligence based. Not being at fault is a good thing.

To figure out the value of a third party claim use the worksheet formula. To figure the value you must know the following:

  1. Gross recovery
  2. Benefits paid
  3. Attorney fees
  4. Costs

Fill in the numbers and the formula will work itself out. If your numbers aren’t set yet you can make estimates. You can also call or e-mail us and we’ll do the calculation for you, based on the above figures you supply to us.

Still got questions? Contact a Seattle L&I attorney today – call 206-343-1988.

What’s Next?