Loading and unloading cargo from ships, operating cranes and driving heavy machinery are just some of the extremely dangerous jobs done on piers, wharves, terminals and dry docks. Accidents in this line of work often result in life-changing injuries.
If you or someone you care about has been hurt while working on a pier, dock, terminal or platform, you may be eligible to pursue compensation for medical expenses and disability. A Lake Charles longshore injury lawyer at Galloway Jefcoat is here to help.
We know what it takes to file a claim under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA). Our firm has more than two decades of experience handling claims and obtaining compensation for injured workers. While each case depends upon its own facts, we routinely recover Hundreds of Thousands of dollars for purely Longshore workers who have injured their backs.
Founding partners Rusty Galloway and John Jefcoat are both members of the American Bar Association. Find out more about your rights and legal options in a free consultation. If we can validate your claim, we charge nothing up front to use our services. We only get paid if you get paid.
Find out if you have a case. Call (337) 984-8020
Can I File a Claim Under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act?
The LHWCA is a federal law that protects workers who spend most of their time onshore, such as longshoremen, harbor workers, dock employees and maritime workers who are not seamen.
You may be able to file a LHWCA claim under the following conditions:
- You spend a considerable time transporting goods from a ship
- You work on navigable waters or an area adjoining those waters to load, unload, repair or build vessels on piers, docks, terminals or wharfs
LHWCA claims are overseen by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP). Like state workers’ comp programs, the LHWCA does not require that you prove fault or that your work-related injury or illness was due to negligence.
Certain employees may be able to pursue compensation for injuries that arise out of and in the course of employment. This includes infections and diseases that naturally arise during employment, such as pulmonary diseases, mesothelioma from exposure to asbestos and skin conditions caused by chemical exposure. The act also covers injuries caused by the willful act of a third party against an employee.
Employees Excluded From the LHWCA
The LHWCA excludes employees in certain jobs, but only if they are covered by a state workers’ compensation law. These include:
- Employees of the U.S. government or of any state or foreign government
- Those employed to perform clerical, secretarial, security or data processing work
- Employees of a club, camp, recreational operation, restaurant, museum or retail outlet
- Those employed by a marina who are not engaged in construction or expansion
- Employees performing aquaculture work
- Those employed by a supplier, transporter or vendor
- Employees temporarily doing work on the premises of a maritime employer
Allow our firm to determine your eligibility for compensation in a free consultation. A longshore injury lawyer in Lake Charles is prepared to guide you through the claims process at no upfront cost to you.
Compensation Available for Injured Workers
The LHWCA helps provide disability benefits and the payment of medical care to qualifying injured workers. If your claim is approved, you may be eligible for the following forms of compensation:
Any reasonable and necessary medical expenses to treat your injury or illness should be covered. Examples include hospital stays, emergency services, doctor visits, surgery, diagnostic tests and medications.
Other services that may be approved to aid in your recovery include physical therapy and attendant care as well as the cost of prosthetic devices and assistive equipment (i.e. wheelchair, crutches, hearing aids).
You may be compensated for as long as medical care is needed. You may also choose any doctor for treatment from an approved provider list from the Secretary of Labor. After a doctor has been chosen, no changes can be made without consent from your employer or his or her insurance carrier.
Temporary Total Disability
If you are unable to work while recovering from your injury, you may be able to receive temporary total disability. These benefits are equal to two-thirds of your average weekly wages, subject to minimum and maximum compensation rates set forth by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). You may also be eligible for these benefits if you have lost the use of an arm, hand, fingers, toes, leg, foot, eyes or ears.
Temporary Partial Disability
If your injury does not allow you to work in the same capacity as before, you may be able to receive temporary partial disability. These benefits are equal to two-thirds of your loss of earning capacity (two-thirds of the difference between your average weekly wages and the amount earned after the injury).
Permanent Total Disability
These benefits are equal to two-thirds of your average weekly wages for as long as your disability continues. The amount in permanent total disability you may be eligible to receive may vary every year based on any changes to the DOL’s minimum and maximum compensation rates.
Permanent Partial Disability
Compensation for permanent impairment or the loss of use of the arm, hand, fingers, toes, leg, foot, eyes or ears is paid for a certain number of weeks. Scheduled permanent partial disability benefits equal to 66 and two-thirds percent of your average weekly wages based on your disability.
If your injury or illness is not specifically listed in the LHWCA, you may still be eligible to receive two-thirds of your loss of earning capacity. This is calculated based on the difference between your average weekly earnings and the amount earned after the injury.
If you cannot perform your job in the same field that you have experience and training in, you may qualify for vocational rehabilitation. Services include vocational guidance, job placement assistance, skills testing, career counseling, occupational tools and equipment, and more.
In Lake Charles, the Vocational Rehabilitation Regional Office is located at 3616 Kirkman Street.
These benefits are available if a worker dies due to an injury or illness while on the job. Certain surviving family members may be able to receive two-thirds of the deceased worker’s average weekly wage. Up to $3,000 in funeral expenses may also be covered.
Getting the maximum compensation possible can be challenging without an experienced attorney by your side. A Lake Charles longshore injury attorney at Galloway Jefcoat is ready to negotiate for fair and full compensation for the injuries you have suffered in the workplace.
Free Case Review 24/7. Ph: (337) 984-8020
Steps to Take After Being Injured at Work
There are several important steps to take to protect the right to compensation under the law.
Any work-related injury must be reported to your employer as soon as possible. Generally, you have 30 days from the date of the injury. This may seem like enough time, but you do not want to wait too long to get the process started. Otherwise, you may lose your right to compensation under the law.
If you wait until the last minute to report the injury, your employer or his or her insurance carrier may dispute your injury. They may question the severity of your injury or say that it happened outside of work. Any dispute can extend the entire process and cause you to wait longer to be compensated.
If benefits are denied or you believe that you are not being compensated fairly, you have the option to file a LHWCA claim. The deadline is one year from the date of the injury. It is important to note that some exceptions may exist. The clock may not start until you became aware or should have been reasonably aware of your injury. However, you should not assume that this exception may apply to your situation.
If Your LHWCA Claim is Denied
Claims may be denied for several reasons. However, employers are expected to provide necessary benefits for legitimate claims. If your LHWCA claim is denied, your employer must send you Form LS-207 (Notice of Controversion of Right to Compensation) detailing why the benefits were withheld.
A lawyer at our firm is ready to help you appeal this decision if you have a valid claim. This will require reaching out to the local district office handling your claim and submitting the following documentation:
- Medical records
- Wage statements
- Earnings records
An informal conference will be scheduled at the district office to resolve the dispute. A claims examiner will review the documentation and paperwork provided and recommend whether benefits should be paid. Unfortunately for injured workers, these recommendations are not binding.
If you are denied benefits after an informal conference, a member of our legal team is prepared to request that your claim be heard at a formal hearing in front of a DOL Administrative Law Judge.
The judge will make the following determinations:
- If your injury or illness is work-related
- The extent of the injury you have sustained
- If prior medical conditions contributed to your current condition
- Medical expenses your employer may be responsible for paying
Our firm is also ready to help negotiate a settlement that reflects the accurate value of your claim. We know what it takes to build a strong case for compensation as well as overturn a denial notice.
Call a Lake Charles Longshore Injury Attorney Today
If you have been injured while working onshore and it has impacted your ability to work, you may be eligible to pursue financial compensation. The process of filing a claim under the LHWCA can be complex and tough to navigate without retaining qualified legal representation.
At Galloway Jefcoat, our attorneys are well-versed in state and federal laws that protect injured workers and are ready to fight for your rights. We have a track record of securing millions in compensation. An initial consultation is 100 percent free and confidential. There is no risk or legal obligation involved.
Our office is about two miles from the Louisiana Workforce Commission District Office in Lake Charles.
Galloway Jefcoat. Trusted. Local. Lawyers. (337) 984-8020