My husband was hurt in D.C. because another contractor (not his employer) was negligent. How long does he have to file a lawsuit?

Question:

My husband was hurt on a construction site in Washington D.C. because another contractor (not his employer) was negligent, and needed knee surgery. He received workers comp benefits under a Compensation Order. How long does he have to file a lawsuit against the subcontractor that caused his injury?

 

Answer:

He has two years to file his case against the subcontractor who caused the injury.  

Unfortunately, not many lawyers know that.

The subcontractor, or any company that is not his employer would be considered a Third Party. If you receive benefits under a Compensation Order in D.C., you have two years to file your case against the Third Party - and remember that could also be an individual person as long as he isn't a co-worker employed by the same company as your husband.  If you don't receive those benefits under a Compensation Order, for example, the insurance company is voluntarily paying benefits, you have three years to file the case against the Third Party. 

We see this a lot in our construction cases, and we represent a lot of construction workers.  There is a lot of overlap in the two cases, and in order to maximize your recovery for your serious injuries, it's critical that you get a lawyer who specializes in both workers comp and serious injury cases.

Here's just one quick example - you need to make sure you know that settling the 3rd party case without the workers comp insurance company's approval could extinguish your right to workers comp benefits (in some cases those benefits are more valuable to you).


If you have any questions about whether you or someone you know has received benefits under a Compensation Order (its confusing, so you may not know) call us and we can talk about it. You can reach us a 202-393-3320 and there will always be a person available to do a free informational interview with you.