YOUR INJURY MAY FALL UNDER MORE THAN ONE LAW
If you are injured on the job as a longshore person or harbor worker you are entitled to certain benefits under the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act. In addition, you may be covered by other laws such as the Labor Code of the State of California and you may be entitled to file a lawsuit against other persons or companies if the actions (or inactons) of those persons or companies caused or contributed to your accident and injury. Many people do not know that a claim for worker's compensation benefits under the Longshore Act is not a lawsuit. Instead , it is simply a claim for certain benefits which your employer (or its Worker's Compensation Insurance Company) are REQUIRED to give you under the Longshore Act.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE INJURED
Unfortunately, many people do not know the requirements under the law or their rights under the Longshore Act. For this reason, many people do not seek the advice of an attorney until the Employer or its Insurance Company refuses to provide medical benefits or compensation. By this time, your rights may be prejudiced if you have not done what is required under the Longshore Act or other law. This is why it is important to consult with an attorney shortly after your accident so that you do not miss any important deadlines or otherwise prejudice your rights. Don't unknowingly give up benefits and rights that you and your family may be entitled to under the law! If you are hurt on the job on the waterfront, you should:
1. NOTIFY YOUR EMPLOYER IMMEDIATELY and ask for a Form LS-1 (doctor's slip), which authorizes treatment by a doctor of your choice.
2. Select your own doctor for treatment and obtain medical treatment as soon as possible. Remember you are allowed only one free choice doctor under the Longshore Act. This is why it is important to obtain a doctor that you know and trust or to go to a doctor on the advice or recommendation of someone who knows or trusts the doctor. If you allow yourself to be treated over time by a doctor that the Employer or its Insurance Company refers you to, this may count as your free choice. Obviously, if the "Company" doctor later sides with the Company and states that you are not disabled or do not need further medical treatment, this will prejudice your rights.
3. Give written notice of your injury within thirty days to your Employer on a Form LS-201. Notice of Death must also be given within thirty days. Additional time is provided for certain hearing loss and occupational disease claims. Any reputable attorney who specializes in claims under the Longshore Act should be knowledgeable of these type of forms and will file them for you if you hire that attorney.
4. File a written claim for Compensation within one year after injury if full compensation and medical care have not been provided. A claim must also be filed within one year after death. The time for filing claims in certain occupational disease cases has been extended to two years. Once again, any reputable attorney who specializes in practice under the Longshore Act should be knowledgeable of this type of claim form (called an LS-203) and will file it for you.
Pierry & McAdams LLP has won hundreds of cases resulting in millions of dollars. Please contact us if you believe that you should be compensated for injury while on the job.
Contact Pierry & McAdams LLP today to learn how we can help you!