Legal Question in Personal Injury in Washington

workers comp and third party injury

I was bitten by a dog on the job and subsequently suffered an injury to my my achilles tendon on one foot and then the other a few days later due to being in a cast and on crutches. I am getting my workmans comp but I want to sue the homeowner for pain and suffering as I am in physical therapy and am told by my doctor that I may have to have surgery and be in a wheelchair for six months and that I will not be completely healed for two years.

Asked on 1/11/09, 2:48 pm

4 Answers from Attorneys

Ryan Nute Myers & Company, P.L.L.C.

Re: workers comp and third party injury

In Washington the injured worker has the option of "electing" to pursue the claim directly. If the claim is not elected, the Department of Labor & Industries may pursue the claim. We've handled a number of such cases for people in your position and would be happy to help. Feel free to get in touch.


206.398.1188 ext. 104

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Answered on 1/11/09, 2:56 pm
Michael Myers Myers & Company

Re: workers comp and third party injury

We'd be happy to help with your claim. In order to pursue the homeowner/dogowner you need to submit a Third Party Election with the Department of Labor and Industries. We can help you complete and file it. (It allows you to pursue the claim rather than relying on the Department (which is really just interested in recovering the medical and time loss it paid.)

Next suit needs to be filed against the homeowner/dogowner. Unless there is a specific exception (e.g., for breed of dog) the homeowner's policy will cover your claim (and there is typically $300,000 in coverage (minimum) available).

In the last dog bite case we tried our client recovered approximately 20 times the insurance company's best offer.

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Answered on 1/11/09, 3:43 pm
John Greaney Greaney Law Firm, PLLC

Re: workers comp and third party injury

You do have a claim against the homeowner. Since the incident happened on the job, you should elect to go after the homeowner yourself, instead of letting the DLI handle the case. Their interests and yours are not the same. We can help you with the proper form to make such an election.

My office has handled numerous dog bite cases with good results. In my experience, the sooner we can begin to investigate, take photographs and witness statements, talk with your doctor about the future, and gather the facts of the incident, the better your chances for a full recovery. Please feel free to my office for a free consult. Injury work on behalf of victims is all we do. Cordially,

John Greaney

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Answered on 1/11/09, 3:49 pm
Christopher Davis Davis Law Group, P.S.

Re: workers comp and third party injury

You'll want to make efforts to prepare suit now against the homeowner. Additional information needs to be collected, including the name and policy limits of this person's coverage.

The value of your claim can vary widely, depending on the severity of your injuries, amount and frequency of your treatment, and any residuals (impairment, scarring and/or disability). For instance the dozen or so dog bite cases my office has handled over the past few years have ranged from the low end of $35,000 to the high end of $300,000+, with most settling for an amount in between.

I offer important free information to dog bite victims who may be interested in learning more about their rights, understanding Washington state dog bite law and the elements of the Dog Bite Statute, and how to properly value and support your claim. My book on Washington Dog Bite Law was also recently published, so if you would like a free copy please contact my office.

I wish you well in your recovery.



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Answered on 1/11/09, 6:51 pm

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