The Longshore & Harbor Workers' Compensation Act covers injuries that happen upon the navigable waters of the US or other adjoining areas customarily used by employees in loading, unloading, repairing, dismantling or building a vessel (a pier, wharf, dry dock, terminal, etc). As long as you are working in one of these areas and are injured then this is the act that covers your compensation to the fullest degree. The main exceptions are if you are an employee of the US or the injury was caused solely by intoxication or willful intent, otherwise compensation is payable regardless of fault. Benefits include all medical care/supplies and disability compensation, paid for by your employer.
What should I do immediately following an injury at work if employed in the above industries?
- Obtain medical treatment as soon as possible
- Notify your supervisor or employer and fill out a Notice of Injury (LS-201) form within 30 days, which can be found at www.dol.gov/owcp/dlhwc/ls-201.pdf
- If you are disabled for three days contact your employer for compensation payment and if within fourteen days they contest or withhold payment contact a law firm
How do I file a compensation claim?
You have one year from the time of injury to file a claim for compensation with the deputy commissioner in the compensation district where such injury occurred or one year from the time of the last payment if your employer canceled compensation benefits you are already receiving. This form can be found at www.dol.gov/owcp/dlhwc/ls-203.pdf.
The claim can be filed seven days after a disability and if thirty days later no hearing is ordered the deputy commissioner will reject or award the claim. On the other hand, if a hearing is ordered you will have at least ten days of notice and may have to submit to a physical examination by a physician at the request of the deputy commissioner to verify any disabilities. One exemption from this time limit is if the death or disability is from an occupational disease which then gives you two years from when you are aware of the disability to file a claim. Also if no objection is raised at the first hearing of the claim then the statute of limitations cannot be raised as an objection later on.
The rate of compensation available depends on various factors such as the class of disability, your current pay and the national average wages so to find out what you may be entitled to and to maximize benefits you should contact a lawyer experienced in Longshore claims. Also an employer cannot discharge or discriminate against any employee who has claimed, attempted to claim compensation or testified in a proceeding.
Contact Feldman Morgado to protect your interest and defend your rights. We will pursue full damages for your losses and we are prepared to go to trial if necessary to secure justice.