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.
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.
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.
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.