While rare, an attorney should always consider the viability of pursuing a third-party claim where a DBA injury is due to the negligence of a third-party other than your employer. This is allowed under 33 U.S.C. Section 933 (a) but has a strict requirement of notification under subsection (g)Compromise obtained by person entitled to compensation:
You most likely do not have a third-party case when your injury was in a war zone. However, there are always exceptions. I’ll give a few examples: When you are electrocuted by faulty electrical work in your building which was installed by a contractor other than your employer. Or say a fan is defective and cuts your fingers which means you have a product liability case against the maker or seller of the fan. Or if another person driving a vehicle caused you injury you can pursue that if there is insurance coverage for the vehicle’s owner or driver.
So in non war zones, a third-party case is bit easier because the defendant should not be able to successfully argue sovereign immunity or that the work is subject to national defense security. That being said, these are difficult cases. If the third party settlement value is less than your future benefits under the DBA case and you cannot obtain the necessary consent, you have to be prepared to forego the third party settlement. For instance in a recent death case we handled, we had to evaluate the viability and value of a third party lawsuit and settlement vs the value of the Defense Base Act claim. So it is recommended to determine if there is a third party suit and balance the settlement value of each case. See the pitfalls to avoid in Edwards v Marine Repair BRB decision 15-0112.
Our law firm is prepared to advise you on these many issues and our initial consultation is always free.