What is a third-party claim?

If someone other than your co-worker or employer caused your workplace injury or illness, you may take legal action against this “third party.” If you indicate on your Report of Accident that a third party may have caused the injury, we will send you a Third Party Election Form (F249-008-000) to complete.

Examples of a third-party claim:

  • Motor vehicle collision caused by another driver.
  • A property owner who failed to properly maintain the building where you were working when you were hurt.
  • A worksite general contractor, if you were employed by a subcontractor.
  • Manufacturer of the defective device that injured you.
  • The owner of an animal that bit you.

You are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, regardless of who caused the workplace injury. L&I must be reimbursed from any recovery.

Learn more about third-party claims for employers and for attorneys/Special Assistant Attorneys General.

Pursuing a third-party action

You can pursue the action yourself, with or without an attorney (Option A), or you may assign the action to L&I (Option B). L&I is assigned the third-party action to pursue at its discretion if you do not decide within the required timeframe.

Pursue the action myself (Option A)

You must notify L&I if you choose to pursue the action. If you or your attorney file a lawsuit, send us a copy for our records and keep us informed of the progress of your case.

When you are ready to settle, we suggest you contact us before making a decision. You must get our written approval if the settlement will result in L&I receiving less than the amount of benefits paid, or estimated to be paid, in the future. These benefits include time-loss, medical payments and permanent partial disability awards.

Assign the action to L&I (Option B)

We will determine whether to pursue the cause of action if it's assigned to L&I. Your help may be necessary to make this decision. However, you give up your right to control the action. L&I will distribute any recovered funds in compliance with the law, and issue an order confirming the distribution.

Related Resources

Mailing address

Washington State Department of Labor & Industries
Third Party Unit
PO Box 44288
Olympia WA 98504-4288