If you have an injury that is both a work injury, and a personal injury claim (caused by a third party), you may have two separate injury claims you can pursue simultaneously.  However, please proceed very carefully if you are pursuing both claims.

First, what is meant by an injury caused by a “third party”?  A good way to explain this is by an example.  Let’s say you are driving a delivery vehicle for your employer.  While on the road for your employer, you have an accident resulting in injury to yourself that was caused by another driver (a “third party”).  Assuming this accident arises out of your employment, you may also have a personal injury claim against the driver (the “third party”) that caused your injuries.

However, this can very get complicated when you try to settle your personal injury claim.  If the workers’ comp insurance carrier has been paying benefits for medical and/or wage loss, there is a strong likelihood that they have a lien on any personal injury claim related to the work accident.  You should never settle your personal injury claim without taking into consideration the workers’ compensation carrier’s potential lien on any personal injury settlement.  The result can be catastrophic for your workers’ compensation claim.

In these scenarios, it is very helpful to have an experienced workers’ comp lawyer help and advise you through this process.  You may be able to significantly reduce the workers’ compensation lien upon the personal injury settlement or completely settle the workers’ compensation claim in a way that results in no lien at all.  There are various ways to approach these situations and it is important to have someone with in-depth knowledge of the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act assist you in this process.


These statements are for general information purposes only and not considered specific legal advice. Mr. Shoen would need to meet with you individually to ensure client confidentiality and would need additional information not provided in this article. This article does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please consult an attorney directly for legal advice.

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