Longshoremen and harbor workers have some of the most dangerous jobs in the US. Working in potentially hazardous conditions and with heavy equipment, machinery, or tools means plenty of opportunities for an accident that may result in an injury. A work injury can leave a longshoreman unable to earn a living and in need of extensive medical treatment. Fortunately, federal law provides for the payment of compensation, medical care, and vocational rehabilitation services for certain types of maritime employees and for civilian employees on military bases worldwide. If you need help securing financial benefits after a work injury, contact a New Jersey longshoreman accident attorney at Team Law for an evaluation of the options in your case.
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Compensation shall be payable under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) in respect of the disability or death of an employee, but only if the disability or death results from an injury occurring upon the navigable waters of the United States (including any adjoining pier, wharf, dry dock, terminal, building way, marine railway, or other adjoining areas customarily used by an employer in loading, unloading, repairing, dismantling, or building a vessel).
The term “employee” means any person engaged in maritime employment, including any longshoreman or other person engaged in longshoring operations, and any harbor worker including a ship repairman, shipbuilder, and ship-breaker, but such term does not include individuals employed exclusively to perform office or clerical duties or a master or member of a crew of any vessel. Those excluded by the Longshore Act may be covered under the Jones Act or by a State’s workers’ compensation law.
If you are a Longshoreman injured on the job you should:
If you need medical treatment, ask your employer for a Form LS-1, which authorizes treatment by a doctor of your choice;
An injured worker may choose their own treating physician. A chiropractor may be a treating physician only if the injury caused a spinal subluxation, verified by x-ray, which can be treated by manual manipulation of the spine. Thus, if the work injury is not a spinal subluxation, a chiropractor may not be your treating physician. If a dispute arises concerning the necessity of treatment, the frequency of treatment, the type of treatment provided, or the amount of fees billed, the Longshore District Director (or his/her designee, the Claims Examiner) will attempt to resolve the dispute informally. If the parties cannot agree on an acceptable result, then at the request of any party, the District Director will refer the dispute for a formal hearing by an Administrative Law Judge. The insurance carrier may schedule a medical evaluation with a doctor of its choice at a reasonable distance from your residence. If you refuse to attend a medical examination scheduled by your employer or its insurance carrier, your compensation may be suspended until the medical examination is completed. The OWCP also has the authority to schedule a medical examination, and you must attend or risk suspension of your compensation.
This should be completed on Form LS-201. Notice of death must also be given within 30 days. Additional time is provided for certain hearing loss and occupational disease claims. (Contact your nearest OWCP district office or seek legal counsel for additional information regarding these types of claims)
This should be completed on Form LS-203 within one year after the date of injury or last payment of compensation, whichever is later. A claim for survivor benefits must be filed within one year after the date of death. The time for filing claims in certain occupational disease cases has been extended to two years.
When you have a Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation claim, a New Jersey longshoreman accident attorney at Team Law can help you obtain the full scope of benefits you may be entitled to under the law. Contact us today for more information.
Compensation for disability shall be paid to the employee as follows:
The compensation schedule for a permanent disability involving the loss, or loss of use, of a member or function of the body or involving disfigurement, is as follows:
Other maritime employees are covered similarly through the following Acts:
Applying to employment by Federal government contractors outside the continental U.S., Alaska, or Hawaii. The Defense Base Act covers the following employment activities:
Applying to employees of private industry, conducting certain operations on the Outer Continental Shelf of the United States. Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA) – The OCSLA covers employees working on the Outer Continental Shelf of the United States in the exploration and development of natural resources, for example, off-shore oil drilling rigs.
Applying to civilian employees of non-appropriated fund instrumentalities (post exchanges, etc.) of the Armed Forces. The Non-Appropriated Fund Instrumentalities Act (NAFIA) covers civilian employees of non-appropriated fund instrumentalities of the Armed Forces (for example, military base exchanges and morale, welfare, and recreational facilities)
Attorney Fees: If the employer or insurance company has denied any portion of your claim and you subsequently obtain greater benefits with the assistance of an attorney, the employer or insurance company may be responsible for paying your attorney’s fees and costs. In some circumstances, you may be responsible for paying the attorney fees and costs yourself. If the attorney is not successful in winning greater benefits, no fees or costs will be assessed against the employer or insurance company.
An attorney may not collect a fee unless that fee is approved by the Office of Workers Compensation Programs (OWCP), the Office of Administrative Law Judges, or the courts. Under the LHWCA, an attorney may not collect a retainer fee or receive a contingency fee (a percentage of your award) for representing you in your claim.
All requests for attorney fees must be submitted to the OWCP, Office of Administrative Law Judges, or to the courts for approval. Fees must be reasonable in relation to the prevailing rates in the attorney’s local area, the time spent on your case, the experience of the attorney, the quality and complexity of the work performed, and the amount of benefits awarded.
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When you settle your claim, the signed settlement agreement must be submitted to the DOL for approval. The District Director or the Administrative Law Judge will approve or deny the settlement within 30 days of receipt of the settlement agreement. The employer or insurance company must pay the lump sum settlement within ten (10) days of the Order Approving Settlement. Failure to timely pay the settlement may result in the payment of additional compensation for the late payment.
The experienced longshoremen accident lawyers at Team Law have extensive experience handling LHWCA cases. We will aggressively seek the maximum amount of compensation you are entitled to. For a free initial consultation, call us at 1-800-TEAM-LAW or fill out our convenient online contact form today.
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