I didn’t have an accident at work, but my back neck or knee hurts. Can I file a LHWCA claim?
Yes. What are known as “cumulative trauma” injuries are covered by the Longshore Act. If cumulative trauma from work activities leads to physical injuries, then the injuries are covered just like injuries from a specific work accident.
I hurt my back years ago in an auto accident, but I tweaked it recently at work and now it hurts worse. Can I still file a LHWCA claim?
Yes. Even though you have pre-existing injuries, if work activities aggravate those injuries there is coverage under the Longshore Act.
I got hurt at work but I did not get a doctor’s slip. What should I do?
You have to report the accident to your employer within 30 days or you could loose your right to receive compensation benefits. Before you make a late report, it would be a good idea to talk to an experienced Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) attorney to be sure you understand your rights and obligations. You can call the Longshore Injury Hotline 24/7 for a no cost, no obligation consultation.
After reporting an injury to my employer, do I have to see the doctor they choose for me?
No. Under the Longshore Act, you are entitled to be treated by a doctor of your choice. If you need a local doctor referral, please contact us ASAP.
I was injured at work, but my employer has denied responsibility to pay me compensation and medical benefits. What do I do?
Generally, if you are a longshore union member you will be entitled to medical care under the insurance provided by your union, and will also be entitled to California state disability benefits. You may also be entitled to supplemental disability benefits from your union.
However, the amounts for disability you receive from the state and from your union usually aren’t as much as you would be entitled to receive as compensation benefits from your employer under the Longshore Act. You may still make a claim under the Longshore Act under these circumstances, and if successful would essentially recover the difference between the amount you received from the state and your union and the amount provided for under the Longshore Act.
Can I recover pain and suffering damages under the Longshore Act?
No. The Longshore Act, like other types of worker compensation acts, does not provide for pain and suffering damages. However, if you were injured by the negligence or other fault of a third party – that is, someone other than your employer or a co-worker – you may file a civil action against the responsible party. You may claim pain and suffering damages, in addition to other damages, all in addition to also being entitled to receive benefits under the Longshore Act.
There are issues involving the rights of the Longshore employer to receive credit from any third party recovery. A settlement of a third party action may allow the Longshore employer to terminate benefits if the settlement is made without the employer’s approval. Because of this, the handling of the Longshore claim and a third party action must be carefully coordinated.
My employer has denied/controverted my claim. Will I have to pay the attorneys fees if I hire a lawyer?
No. Under the LHWCA, an attorney will handle your case on a contingent fee basis, meaning he or she will only be paid if the claim is successful. Moreover, when the employer denies a claim and you hire a lawyer who helps you compel them to pay it, the employer must also pay you attorney’s fees. You do not have to pay anything.
If you have more questions, please feel free to call us at 888-566-4437, or complete our confidential form and we will follow up with you directly.