What if my injury was caused by a third-party, such as an auto accident?

Washington State law generally defines a work-related injury to encompass any injury sustained while on the job. This includes errand duties. If an employee is injured in an automobile accident while in the course of employment, they would be entitled to workers' compensation benefits, regardless of who is at fault for the accident.

If an injury was caused by the negligence of a third-party (someone other than the employer or a coworker), an injured worker may have additional remedies under the law.

Example 1: Someone runs a red light and hits the company truck you are driving while making deliveries for the floral shop, causing you to be injured. You would be eligible for workers' compensation, and you may have the right to file a suit against the person who caused the auto accident.

In the event an injured worker is awarded damages from the suit, the department (or self-insured employer) will have a right to be reimbursed for some, or all, of the benefits they paid. The calculations are often complex, and the advice of an attorney knowledgeable in work-related third-party claims may be necessary.