With a wide range of canals, intercoastal waterways and navigable rivers, Louisiana has many workers who are engaged in maritime activities. The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, or LHWCA, helps to offset costs that arise from injuries suffered while working in the maritime industry.
How to file an LHWCA compensation claim
Louisiana has a lot of workers who help to load and unload maritime vessels and similar work activities. Whenever a covered worker is injured, federal maritime law says that the LHWCA will take care of the costs. The first thing you need to do is notify your employer as soon as possible. If the injury is not serious, you informing your manager or other supervisor might be prior to obtaining medical attention or afterward, but you need to do it right away.
Medical care documents injuries
You need to obtain medical care as soon as possible when you suffer a workplace injury. That will help you to document the type and extent of injuries for your LHWCA claim. You can go to your own doctor or see a doctor paid by your employer. Ultimately, your employer may seek a second opinion when you have filed a LHWCA claim for injuries suffered while working. You would need to see that doctor as well to document your injuries and provide a second medical opinion for your employer.
Can employers challenge claims?
Louisiana employers can challenge the validity of claims filed through the LHWCA, which might result in a hardship for a legitimately injured worker. While fraudulent claims should be denied, valid claims need to receive appropriate compensation as soon as possible to prevent steep declines in quality of living by injured parties.
If you or a family member suffered injuries that should be covered by the federal LHWCA, a Louisiana attorney with experience in state and federal maritime law may help to uphold your rights. A consultation may help you better understand your situation and assess whether your employer has valid concerns or simply is trying to stop payment.