Q: If I bring a lawsuit against another party who injured me while I was in the course of employment, what, if anything, is owed to the Department of Labor and Industries as a result of benefits paid by the Department?
A: The Department of Labor and Industries is entitled by law to be reimbursed for all benefits paid to any injured worker when that injured worker obtains a recovery from a third party or non-employee who is responsible for the on-the-job injury. However, the law does provide an incentive to the injured worker to pursue litigation which would result in reimbursement to the Department of Labor Industries. That is, even in cases where the injured worker was at fault with a resulting deficiency recovery or a recovery less than the amount of money paid out by the Department of Labor and Industries, the injured worker is assured a percentage of that recovery. The bottom line is that the statue or law concerning what is labeled as third party recovery is written to assure some recovery by the injured worker, despite the lien or interest by the Department of Labor and Industries, as long as there is a party at fault other than the employer or co-worker employed by the injured worker’s employer. Learn more about workers’ compensation claims.