You get injured at work.  Most of the time the first step is filing a workers compensation claim with the Department of Labor and Industries.

After the claim is open a lot of injured workers contact us and ask whether they can sue their employer.  Unless the employer intentionally injured the employee (that’s a little bit of an oversimplification, but not much) the employee cannot sue the employer   That’s one of the rules of the workers compensation statute.  According to the Department of Labor and Industries:

Washington is a no-fault state for workers’ compensation insurance. This means workers usually can’t sue employers for on-the-job injuries.

The same thing holds true for a fellow employee.  But there are cases where both a workers compensation and a personal injury claim can be pursued.  That comes up when you’re hurt at work by someone other than your employer or a co-worker.

It happens a lot at construction sites where the employee of one subcontractor is injured by the employee of another.  And even more frequently when someone’s driving as part of their job and is hit by another driver.  A situation like this was recently in the news:

A Washington State Patrol sergeant was hit by a suspected drunken driver on the Interstate 90 bridge Friday night, the State Patrol said.

Not only can the WSP Trooper make a workers compensation claim, he can also sue the drunk driver.

There are hoops you have to jump through to keep the Department of Labor and Industries from taking/absorbing your personal injury claim.  Good idea to consult with a personal injury attorney to make sure you’re in the driver’s seat.

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