Skip to main content

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

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.

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.

+ Read More

Attorney answers 10

Best Answer

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.


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 intended for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. Actual legal advice can only be provided by an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction, with experience in the area of law in which your concern lies. By using or participating in this site, you understand that there is no attorney/client relationship or privilege between you and the attorney responding.


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.


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


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


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 this reply is intended for a general audience and facts particular to your case may affect the answer. Consult with an attorney in person for specific answers to your questions.


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.


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

The information contained in this Website is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. No recipients of content from this site, clients or otherwise, should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any content included in the site without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from an attorney licensed in the recipient's state. The content of this Website contains general information and may not reflect current legal developments, verdicts or settlements. The Firm expressly disclaims all liability in respect to actions taken or not taken based on any or all the contents of this Website. Any information sent to The Firm by Internet e-mail or through the Website is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis. Transmission of information from this Website does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and The Firm, nor is it intended to do so. The transmission of the Website, in part or in whole, and/or any communication with us via Internet e-mail through this site does not constitute or create an attorney-client relationship between us and any recipients. Some links within the Website may lead to other web-sites, including those operated and maintained by third parties. The Firm includes these links solely as a convenience to you, and the presence of such a link does not imply a responsibility for the linked site or an endorsement of the linked site, its operator, or its contents. This Website and its contents are provided "AS IS" without warranty of any kind, either expressed or implied, including, but not limited to, the implied warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, or non-infringement. Furthermore, The Firm does not wish to represent anyone desiring representation based upon viewing this Website in a state where this Website fails to comply with all laws and ethical rules of that state.


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 attorney and client relationship and there is no attorney and client relationship between the person asking the question and this answering attorney. The answer provided is based on the information provided, and the answer could change if the facts differ in any way from those stated in the answer. For a definitive answer you should seek legal advice from an attorney who (1) is licensed to practice in the state which has jurisdiction; (2) has experience in the area of law you are asking about, and (3) you have retained as your attorney for representation or consultation.


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.

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer