Filing a Charleston Longshore and Harbor Worker’s Compensation Claim

When filing a Charleston Longshore and Harbor Workers’ compensation case, it is important to give notice to the employer. Once the person gives notice to the employer, the employer has a duty to report the claim to their insurance carrier. The insurance carrier then fills out a first report of injury. Many times, that includes the injured worker, however, not always. The injured worker cannot depend on the employer or the insurance company to do the proper filings.

To determine how to appropriately apply for Charleston Longshore and Harbor workers’ compensation, it is crucial to contact an attorney immediately. A knowledgeable Charleston Longshore & Harbors workers’ compensation lawyer can build a case to help produce a successful outcome on your behalf.

Process of Filing a Claim

The first action to take when applying for Charleston Longshore & Harbor workers’ compensation is to provide some type of notice. The best practice is for the injured worker to provide written notice to their employer.

Once the initial notice is provided, the next step is to file the complaint via Form LS-203. This is the Employee’s Claim for Compensation, which begins the statute of limitations. There is only a one-year statute of limitations in these cases.

If the injured worker does not make the proper filings within that time period, they may have barred their claim forever and may not be entitled to any medical or disability benefits going forward.

It is crucial to make all the proper filings early on so that the statute of limitations is started, all issues are preserved, and the injured worker can pursue them when applying for Charleston Longshore & Harbor workers’ compensation.

Gathering Necessary Evidence

When filing a Charleston Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation case, medical evidence is needed in determining the medical-legal standard required by law to prove the injuries are causally related to the work accident.

When surgery or other medical treatment is recommended, that medical evidence proves that such treatment is both necessary and causally related to the work accident.

Because each case is different, a vocational opinion may be required if someone is not able to return to work. There might be a need for future medical cost projections if the injured worker has future medical treatments, so evidence must be developed to support that claim. An experienced Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation attorney can facilitate the development of evidence on behalf of the injured worker.

Witness Testimony

When there is a denied case or it is necessary to prove the accident occurred, eyewitness testimony from someone who witnessed the accident or walked up on the accident scene shortly after can be useful evidence.

Witnesses can include safety managers or supervisors who took the accident report, workers who saw the accident, and doctors who can provide the medical-legal standard. Evidence of wage information can be obtained from the Stevedoring Association, from the International Longshoreman’s Association, and from the Department of Employment workforce if necessary.

Difficulty of Applying

Applying for Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation in Charleston is difficult because the injured worker must deal with their employer and an insurance company that are both not inclined to accept the reality that the worker was injured on the job. There are conflicting interests involved.

Firstly, the employer wants a clean safety record. The supervisor may have a bonus tied to a clean safety record. The safety director wants to make sure that there is no history of accidents or anything that needs to be reported to OSHA.

Once the employer agrees that there was an accident, they send a claim to the insurance company. The insurance company’s goal is to pay out as little possible on the medical and weekly disability benefits, and as little as possible on any type of permanent impairment or disability wage or loss.

When a worker is injured on the job that requires medical care, it is not the same as going to their private health insurance. The personal physician does not necessarily have an adverse interest in the person as an injured worker. However, the injured worker’s employer and insurance company have an adverse interest. What is good for the injured worker is probably not good for them, and what is good for them is probably not good for the injured worker.

Benefits of Legal Representation

An attorney can benefit an individual incredibly when they are applying for workers’ compensation.

First, they can send out several subpoenas to get wage information and confirm the injured worker’s earnings. The attorney contacts the International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) to get a copy of the worker’s container royalties and vacation holiday pay to get the highest compensation rate possible for the injured worker.

When there is a denial of the whole case or there are issues in the case, the attorney makes a file with the Department of Labor requesting an informal conference. Before the informal conference, the attorney creates a trial brief that includes exhibits, medical evidence, and a summary or testimony affidavit.

When there is a favorable recommendation by the claims examiner for the injured worker and the insurance company continues to deny the issue in the case, the attorney files an LSAT, which is a request for merits, with the administrative law judge.

There are multiple pleadings of the pre-trial disclosures that require a pre-trial brief and multiple contexts before proceeding to trial. Some depositions may be required. Everything is done on a case-by-case analysis; but there is a similarity in many of these things.

Contact an Attorney

In a Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation case, an attorney cannot make an insurance company accept the case. However, an experienced attorney can help prepare the case to deal with notice, compensation issues, medical cost projections, medical legal issues, and vocational issues related to an individual’s return to employment. There can be additional issues specific to the case as well.

The lawyer can prepare the case with evidence that can help convince the insurance company this is not the claim they want to deny. In the event the insurance company admits the claim, the lawyer can use the proper pleadings and legal procedures to take the case in an efficient manner to the Department of Labor and to an administrative law judge if necessary to seek relief for the injured worker.

The lawyer can develop effective evidence to prove the case and present that evidence in a  judicious manner to get the claim heard as soon as possible. These cases take long enough as it is, the lawyer can push hard to get the claim heard and get a resolution of the denied case or the denied issues as quickly as possible in a qualified Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation case.

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