An informal conference under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) can be an incredibly useful meeting between an employer, their insurance provider, and an injured employee to discuss benefits and ongoing payments. Additionally, an informal conference may offer an opportunity for the parties to reach an agreement for disability payments.
A qualified attorney could explain the potential importance of Port of Charleston longshore harbor workers informal conferences and how it may impact an injured worker’s compensation package. They could also advocate on a worker’s behalf during such a conference and pursue the maximum benefits available under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act.
What Benefits are Available under the Longshore and Harbor Workers Act?
Workers in Port of Charleston are generally covered under the state’s broad workers’ compensation laws. However, maritime workers may fall under the protection of the federally enacted Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act—enumerated in 33 U.S.C. Chapter 18—instead.
Before attending Port of Charleston longshore harbor workers informal conferences, it is important to understand that benefits are available to workers under the Longshore and Harbor Workers Act. Under this Act, an injured worker is entitled to payments to cover for:
- Temporary total disability
- Temporary partial disability
- Permanent total disability
- Permanent partial disability
- Medical expenses
Like regular workers’ compensation, workers covered by the LHWCA are entitled to receive compensation at a rate of 66 2/3 percent of their average weekly wage. The maximum amount of weekly wages a worker may receive under this Act is currently $1,471.78. Comparatively, the average weekly wage available under South Carolina’s workers’ compensation laws is currently capped at $838.21.
Informal Conferences Under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act
Often, workers and their insurance company disagree over whether the employee in question has suffered a permanent injury and if they are suffering a disability. An informal conference is an opportunity for the parties to come together under the supervision of a representative from the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs to review a worker’s injuries and the extent of their disability.
Additionally, at an informal conference, the parties can review a worker’s medical records detailing their injuries and costs associated with their medical treatment. At the same time, they may review wage records to determine the proper amount of weekly compensation.
At an informal conference, an attorney working on an injured employee’s behalf could present this information to the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs claims examiner. This examiner could then review the claim and determine if a worker should receive benefits.
Is an Informal Conference Binding?
Port of Charleston longshore harbor workers informal conferences are implemented to facilitate an agreement between the parties. However, an informal conference is not a legally binding meeting. Therefore, if a party does not agree with the claims examiner’s recommendations, they may request a formal hearing before an Administrative Law Judge as a next step in the process.
Get Professional Help with Longshore Harbor Workers Informal Conferences in Port of Charleston
If you suffered a workplace injury and had your claim for compensation under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act denied, you may still be able to appeal for the financial recovery you deserve in a number of ways. A qualified lawyer could provide critical representation during Port of Charleston longshore harbor workers informal conferences to help you effectively pursue a positive outcome to your case.