If you are injured or have become ill on the job and rendered unable to work, or if you lost a loved one on the job, your life is impacted financially as well as physically. The recovery process involves not only healing from your injury, but also dealing with insurance adjustors and doctors, figuring out how to pay your medical bills and routine personal expenses, determining how and when you can return to work, and coping with the emotional impact of the disruption.
The problem is complicated when your injury or illness was caused by an outside party. It may not be immediately evident who the responsible party is, how to identify that party, or how to take action to get the compensation you deserve. If your on-the-job injury was caused by a third party, Calbom & Schwab, P.S.C., can help you determine your next steps. We understand the importance at such times of having a legal team on your side that can get tough on your behalf with outside parties, while offering you compassionate understanding and emotional support.
Identifying a Third Party
Sometimes it’s easy to identify the responsible party for your on-the-job injury. At other times, it’s not so clear-cut. Here are some examples of on-the-job injuries that are caused by a third party:
- You were injured in an automobile accident caused by a negligent driver while you were driving on behalf of your company, for instance, delivering items from one location to another.
- You were working with a defective or poorly designed part that was manufactured by another company and that malfunctioned, resulting in injury
- An animal belonging to a third party attacked you while you were working
- The owner of the property where you work neglected to maintain the property, resulting in injury
- A sub-contractor working at your job caused your injury
Calbom & Schwab can assist you in identifying any outside parties who may have been negligent and contributed to your on-the-job injury or illness. Your first consultation with us is free.
Obtaining Compensation for a Third-Party Injury
Because you, as an employee, are covered by the Washington State Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) under Workers Compensation, you are not allowed to sue your employer or co-workers for an injury or illness caused on the job. However, when a third party is involved, you have the right to sue another company or individual.
Initiating a legal action against a third party will not change your ability to receive any Workers Compensation to which you are entitled. You will still receive your full benefits under the law. If your legal action is successful, part of your proceeds will reimburse the state for your benefits.
It’s important to initiate your claim right away against any third party. Your case may have important deadlines that an attorney can help you meet. In addition, you must report your injury or illness to the State of Washington. You also must inform them that you are pursuing legal action against a third party.
It is also important to understand that on-the-job injury or illness caused by a third party is not the same as personal injury. On-the-job injury or illness, even when a third party is involved, is regulated by the State of Washington. If you recover benefits from your legal action, you are entitled to 25 percent of the net proceeds. Your attorney, should you choose to use one, is entitled to reasonable fees and costs. L&I also uses the recovery amount to reimburse its costs that were paid to you during your injury or illness. The rest of the award is set aside by the state to offset any future claims arising from this same incident.
Who Is Representing You?
At the time you decided to file a third-party claim for an on-the-job injury or illness, you may have chosen to let L&I represent you. If your claim was denied, you may wonder if you got the most vigorous representation possible. If you believe that the State of Washington did not do an adequate job in representing you, please call Calbom & Schwab. We will review your case for free and tell you if you should appeal the state’s decision. Don’t give up; a seasoned attorney can often obtain the benefits you deserve.
Contact Calbom & Schwab, where your initial consultation is free.