Many injuries take place in the workplace as a result of an employer or a co-worker.  However, injuries can also result from other persons or entities.  These injuries are said to result from a “third party.”

If you have been injured at work from a third party, you may be entitled to compensation via a “third party claim.”  This is a claim that is filed with the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I).  The following offers further insight into third party claims.  As always, Phillips Law Firm is here to make sure you understand your legal rights.

Third Party Injuries 101

Let’s start things off by considering some basic components involving third party claims.  Third party claims may arise after a worker is injured on the job as a result of a person or thing that is not an employer or co-worker.  As briefly mentioned above, these non-employer/co-workers are legally referred to as “third parties.”

The L&I website provides several examples of a “third party.”  Some of these examples include:

  • A driver of an automobile that hits a worker (while the worker is engaged in the normal course of his business).
  • The manufacturer of a defective product that injures a worker.
  • A property owner who fails to properly maintain a safe workplace.
  • An independent contractor whose negligence on a job site causes a worker’s injury.

Some people may think that even if a third party causes a worker’s injury, the worker could still try and sue his employer to recover compensation for any damages.  However, this is not the case.  Workers in Washington can’t sue their employers (or even co-workers) for injuries resulting from a workplace injury or occupational disease.

But, if these injuries resulted from a third party, Washington law requires that this third party be asked to pay for the injured worker’s medical treatment and other certain expenses.  The way a worker tries to impose this responsibility on a third party is by filing a third party claim with L&I.  The claim process essentially begins with a “Third Party Election Form.”

What is a Third Party Election Form?

If an injured worker’s physician certifies that the worker’s injury may have been caused by a third party, L&I will send the worker a “Third Party Election Form.”  The injured worker is then responsible for completing the form.  Once the form is completed and submitted with L&I, the claim process is basically underway.

As a side note, the Third Party Election Form asks several critical questions of a claimant.  Some of these include whether the injured worker:

  1. Wishes to take legal action himself.
  2. Wishes not to take legal action himself.
  3. Believes a third party is responsible for his injuries.

The answers to these questions may have a great impact on the manner in which a claim is received and processed.  For any injured worker that is in the process of completing the Third Party Election Form, it’s in your best interests to contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney prior to submitting this form.  An attorney will help ensure that you are properly advised on your third party rights.  An attorney will also be able to provide further details on the entire claims process.

How Much Money Will an Injured Worker Receive in a Third Party Claim?

The answer to this question involves a few steps.

  • Step 1:  Attorneys in a third party claim are first paid for their reasonable fees and costs.
  • Step 2:  The injured worker then receives 25% of the net recovery settled upon.
  • Step 3:  L&I is then reimbursed for any benefits paid, less its proportionate share of fees and costs.
  • Step 4:  Any remaining balance is paid to the injured worker.

These steps simply show the process used in determining how much an injured worker will receive.  The actual amount of money an injured worker may collect entirely depends on the nature of the claim and the specific facts involved.

Contact Phillips Law Firm for Assistance

Third party workers’ compensation claims follow a relatively strict process in terms of how actual claims are handled.  The claims process will also vary from case to case simply because the facts of every claim will differ.  Yes, individuals could choose to handle these claims on their own.  However, it’s not the preferred path.

The preferred route is to contact our firm so that one of our experienced workers’ compensation attorneys can answer all of your questions.  Our attorneys will also fully advise you of your third party rights.  The attorneys at Phillips Law Firm are well versed and experienced in third party claims.  Simply contact them today and let them help!


If you have been injured on the job, you are generally not allowed to sue your employer or other co-workers. You are allowed, however, to be compensated through the worker’s compensation system for medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages you have incurred. If someone other than your employer or co-workers caused your workplace accident, you are then allowed to file a third party injury claim against that person.

Washington’s worker’s compensation laws can be difficult to understand and navigate through. As such, an experienced Seattle worker’s compensation lawyer can help you understand all of your benefits and determine if you are eligible to file a third party injury claim.

Examples of Third Party Injury Accidents

There are many ways you can be injured by a negligent third party while on the job, but the most common ones include:

  • Dog bite or animal attack
  • Slip and fall due to property owner’s negligence in a building where you were working
  • Defective product, tool, or device that injured you on the job
  • Car accident while working on the job
  • Construction site accidents by other contractors on the job
  • Toxic exposure
  • Sexual assault while on the job
  • Injuries while working on a different job site
  • And more

The benefits to filing a third party injury claim are numerous. Unlike worker’s compensation, there are no limits put on the amount of damages you may seek. While worker’s compensation may fail to meet all of your medical needs, a third party injury claim can ensure that you have enough money to meet all of your expenses and fully recover.

The Department of Labor & Industries, a third party administrator, or a self-insured employer may have given you paperwork to fill out after your injury. This paperwork may have included options about filing a lawsuit against a third party. If you do not complete this paperwork in a timely manner, you could lose your ability to file a third party claim. Before filing out any paperwork, discuss your accident with a lawyer. Your attorney can make certain that you receive all the benefits to which you are entitled and ensure that you do not miss any critical deadlines for filing third party injury claims.

Contact Seattle Worker’s Compensation Attorneys

If you have been injured on the job and have questions regarding your worker’s compensation, an experienced worker’s compensation attorney at Phillips Law Firm can help. If you are interested in learning more about your legal options, call us at 1-800-708-6000. Our Seattle worker’s compensation attorneys are waiting to assist you 24/7, offering a free case evaluation. Remember our no fee promise. If we do not recover anything for you, you do not owe us an attorney fee.

The workers’ compensation lawyers at Phillips Law Firm have successfully represented injured individuals and their families in Seattle, Tacoma, Vancouver, Bellevue, Everett, Kent, Auburn, Renton, Federal Way, Bellingham, Marysville, Lakewood, Redmond, Shoreline, and throughout the State of Washington.