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Third Party Claims

Third Party Claims

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 a personal injury claim and an L&I claim, the personal injury claim is called a third party claim.

For example: a delivery driver is rear ended on the highway. He has both an L&I claim because he is injured while on the job. He also has a third party claim because that same set of facts also resulted in an injury caused by someone who is not his employer or a co-employee. 

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 self insured employer has a lien on your third party recovery. That means because L&I or the Self Insurer have paid money on your L&I claim they will get some of that money back from you when you receive your money on the third party claim. The exact amount they get from you is subject to the worksheet formula, and possible compromise.  Sometimes the amount they take is shockingly large. Sometimes the third party settlement will ruin the remaining L&I claim because it takes away L&I benefits and creates an offset. Understand how the offset formula applies to your case before you consider settling any third party claim. Also beware of some personal injury attorneys who are clueless about this interrelationship between L&I claims and Third Party claims. Insist they explain to you in writing how the offset works and how much it will be, and how it affects your ongoing L&I claim benefits. 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 someone who is not my employer or co-employee for an injury or occupational disease?

  • With an L&I claim: Yes, that someone is a third party. Your lawsuit against them is a third party claim. The statute of limitations (SOL) for most third party claims is 3 years.
  • No L&I claim: Yes, this would technically be a personal injury claim. The statute of limitations (SOL) for most personal injury claims is 3 years. 

Third Party statute of limitions (SOL)

Three years is the deadline for filing a third party claim.  There is no SOL which runs against the State of Washington so they can bring a third party claim at anytime. 

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. The fault of the person who hurt you also means nothing. 
  • Third party claim? Third party claims are negligence based. Not being at fault is a good thing. Having the person who hurt you being at fault is a good thing for your case. 

Can I sue my employer or co-worker for an on the job injury? 

No, unless the injury was intentional. The statute of limitations for an intentional injury is 2 years. With an intentional injury you also have an L&I claim, with it’s own statute of limitations.  For more information see CAN I SUE MY EMPLOYER

What is my third party claim worth?

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

• Gross Recovery
• Benefits Paid
• Attorney Fees
• 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?