There are many common conditions that qualify a person for a case under the Charleston Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act. First, there is the situs and status of the employee. Status refers to the person’s position, such as a longshoremen or bridge worker. Situs refers to the location of the person’s job; their distance from the water. The further the person gets away from the water, the more likely there is an argument about whether this particular set of laws applies to the injured worker.
To determine if you qualify for a Charleston Longshore and Harbor Worker’s compensation claim, it is pertinent that you consult with an experienced attorney as soon as possible. A knowledgeable Charleston workers’ compensation lawyer can build a claim to help successfully recover on their client’s behalf.
Establishing the Proper Conditions
It is important that the proper conditions be established when determining if an individual qualifies for a Charleston Longshore and Harbor Worker’s compensation claim.
The conditions on the docks are usually treacherous. The jobs are dangerous because the workers deal with heavy equipment, machinery, and moving parts. They move boxes on and off container ships and 18-wheelers. The work environment on the docks is dangerous with objects flying around. The conditions are conducive for injury because there are a lot of people, and not always the safest conditions on the vessels. Many vessels come from other countries and are not always in the best condition. They can have defects or seaworthiness conditions that can lead to accidents.
The cranes that pick up and drop heavy boxes at the back of 18 wheelers can cause injury. A crane operator cannot tell if the crane is lifting a box or a box with the truck attached. It can drop the load on a longshoreman or worker causing significant catastrophic injuries. There are injuries to the back, neck, knees, feet, eyes, and fingers and also be internal injuries. Every type of injury happens to people in this line of work.
If an individual suffers an individual in this way, it is important that they consult with an attorney to determine if they qualify for a Charleston Longshore and Harbor Worker’s compensation claim.
Defining the Title
Longshoreman are usually members of a union in the United States or other places in the world. It is a specific group of people who do a specific function, such as loading and unloading the vessels at a port. This act is much broader and covers all types of workers near the docks including crane operators, crane repairmen, people working on bridges, and barges.
An injured worker should talk to an experienced Longshore and Harbor Workers’ lawyer and Jones Act lawyer to determine which law applies and keep the defense from trying to make the issue a state workers’ compensation case where the benefits can be much less. The worker must be properly categorized as a longshoreman under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act or as a Jones Act seaman. It is critical to get an experienced lawyer to help the injured person get into the right category to receive the maximum benefits available.
If an individual believes they may qualify to make a claim underneath the Charleston Longshoreman and Harbor Worker’s compensation act, they should not hesitate before contacting an experienced attorney.
Filing the Claim
Once the injured worker is in the category that is under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, the case must be filed in the district in which the injury occurred. When the person is in the southeast United States, they go to the Department of Labor regional office in Jacksonville, to the district director who can help administer the claim.
If there is an issue or issues about the compensation rate or medical treatments of the injured worker or any other issue that can come up, the person should file the case through the Department of Labor to have an informal conference and get a recommendation from the district director or one of their claim examiners.
With the favorable recommendation, the defense has 14 days to comply. If they do not comply with that recommendation, the next step is to file a complaint to ask for a merit hearing in front of an administrative law or judge. The administrative law or judge hears the case, takes evidence and testimony, and makes a decision for the injured worker.
The forms in a Charleston Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation case are confusing and complicated. The forms are important and the substance that goes on them has everything to do with whether an insurance company accepts or denies the claim.
When something on the form does not make sense to the insurance company or is inconsistent, they look for a reason to red flag and deny the case or issues in the case. It is important that the forms are filled out consistently, truthfully, and in a timely manner. Any mistake on the forms or the submission of the forms can lead to a denial on the case.
Benefit of an Attorney
When someone calls a law office with their Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation case, they should expect and receive empathy. They should expect a group of professionals to work hard to document, preserve, protect, and to make sure that all elements of the case are addressed properly and efficiently.
The goal is to get the claim accepted in a timely manner. If the claim is not accepted by the insurance company, the lawyer can take the case in front of the Department of Labor and/or to an Administrative Law Judge if necessary to argue for the benefits the injured worker deserves and is entitled to as a result of their work accident.