Can I sue a contractor that wasn't my employer if that contractor directly caused me to suffer a serious brain injury?

Asked over 1 year ago - Seattle, WA

Happened last year in September, I continued working until mid December when my employer decided I was no longer able to function normally (personality change). Drs. currently wont let me work. I didn't know I was having problems but rather noticed everyone was telling me I had changed. At this time my wife and child are estranged from me due to my personality change and other side effects of my injury.
The injury happened while I and two other people were walking at the end of a driveway. I basically walked into some unflagged lumber that was strapped to and hanging off the back of a contractors pipe rack. The contractors vehicle was parked at the bottom of the driveway on the road, the lumber was hanging into the only few feet of access to the property.

Additional information

I do have an L&I attorney and am currently receiving workers compensation. However they do not specialize in the other aspects of my case and the attorneys they referred me to are to busy to return my calls.

Attorney answers (10)

  1. Dane Johnson

    Contributor Level 13

    11

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . If the injury occurred while engaged in employment doing the kinds of things that the job typically requires, than it is likely a compensable injury under workers' compensation law. But a claim against a negligent third party for damages that are not covered by workers' comp may also be brought. You may need to contact both a workers' comp lawyer and a personal injury attorney. Each area of law is specialized, and not every law practice handles both types of cases.

    This answer is made available by an attorney licensed to practice in the state of Oregon. The communication is... more
  2. Crystal Grace Rutherford

    Pro

    Contributor Level 13

    5

    Lawyers agree

    1

    Answered . It sounds like it happened while on the job. If you Not filed an Labor & Industries claim already, you should do so immediately. You need to be seen by a neuropsychololist which will involve a full day of testing. You need to be seen by a neurologist who understands traumatic brain injuries (TBI). One you get the treatment you need you can consider about claims against third parties. The general contractor has control over the work site which can complicate matter so you will need a personal injury lawyer that does construction claim. I hope you can recover fully.

  3. Frederick J. Moore III

    Contributor Level 11

    6

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . I agree with Dane. This could be covered under workers comp or could be an independent cause of action against the contractor. Be mindful of the statute of limitations (time period to file suit) in your state. I would recommend contacting a personal injury attorney in your state.

  4. Richard H. Wooster

    Contributor Level 11

    4

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . While workers compensation laws limit your ability to sue your own employer, if another party is negligent you may pursue a claim against that party even if the injury arose while you were working. Your fault issue is tough, but there may be enough to pursue a claim.

    This response does not create a lawyer client relationship. Each case is determined on its specific facts and... more
  5. George Costas Andriotis

    Contributor Level 20

    4

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Follow Mr. Johnson's advice as he is dead on with the facts as you provided them.

    Call for a free consultation at 727-937-1400 or visit us on the Web at www.serviceandjustice.com.
  6. Christian K. Lassen II

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    4

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Have a local personal injury lawyer investigate a 3rd party claim.

  7. Jacob Brian Smith

    Contributor Level 16
    Best Answer
    chosen by asker

    Answered . You will definitely want to contact a personal injury attorney if your L&I lawyer does not do "third party claims." If someone else, other than your employer, is liable or partly liable for your injuries, you can recover from the third party non-employer and then L&I or the employer if the employer is self insured is entitled to a certain percentage for reimbursement of medical and wage loss.

  8. Gladys E. Wiles

    Contributor Level 10

    2

    Lawyers agree

    1

    Answered . Brain injuries are very serious and sometimes take a long time to recover from. You may have what is typically called a "third party" case against the contractor that caused your injuries. You need to have a personal injury attorney investigate the case for you to determine if you have a case and who was at fault.

    You cannot pursue a claim for pain and suffering under worker's compensation, which is what you are currently receiving, but you may pursue pain and suffering, as well as any uncompensated wages in a third party cause of action.

    Best of luck to you.

    Gladys Wiles
    Snyder & Wiles, PC
    7731 Main Street
    Fogelsville, PA 18051
    610-391-9500

    The information contained in this Website is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed... more
  9. Jeffrey Twersky

    Pro

    Contributor Level 11

    Answered . You should contact an attorney who is experienced in handling both claims for injury on the job, outside of L & I, but also traumatic brain injury cases. Traumatic brain injury claims are generally more complicated, and require specialized handling and knowledge.

    DISCLAIMER: This answer is provided for general purposes only, and is not intended as legal advice made in an... more
  10. David A. Papa

    Contributor Level 16

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . There are firms that have employ both personal injury attorneys and workers compensation attorneys. Seek their advice or seek both types of attorney's individually ASAP.

Related Topics

Pain and suffering for personal injury

Pain and suffering refers to physical and mental trauma caused by an injury, and is often a significant component of non-economic damages.

Types of personal injuries

There are many types of personal injuries for which financial damages can be awarded, including physical, emotional, and psychological injuries.

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