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How long does the process for the LHWCA take?

If you receive any major injuries or diseases while working on Louisiana waters, you will want to receive compensation as soon as you can. You need to cover any medical expenses that arise from the incident, especially if your condition is negatively impacting your ability to work.

The Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act (LHWCA) has limitations on when you can report this injury and when you should receive compensation. It is imperative to be aware of these time frames so you know how long you have to report and injuries or diseases and when your employer should provide you with the coverage you need.

When should I report my injuries?

If you are injured on the job, you need to give a written notice to your employer within 30 days of your injury. You also need to file a written claim to the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP) within a year. Failure to do either of these could lead to your employer successfully denying you any compensation benefits for your injuries. Unless you have a good excuse for your tardiness, you should turn it in as soon as you can to avoid a possible conflict.

If you experience any occupational diseases or injuries as a result of your risky work environment, filing a claim is slightly different. Unlike personal injuries, occupational diseases and injuries may take a while to develop and are not apparent on your body immediately. You have 2 years to file a claim once you are aware of any disabilities you have received from your employment.

When do I receive compensation?

Once your employer has knowledge of your injury, disease and/or disability, they have 14 days to compensate you. The first payment can take up to 28 days since payment would not be overdue until 14 days after the initial date. Afterwards, victims receive bi-weekly payments until they recover from their condition.

However, your employer could object to your compensation benefits and force you to handle the matters in court. If this happens, you need to request a formal hearing from an Administrative Law Judge, and their decision on when your hearing date is can vary heavily. If you manage to settle your case, the Administrative Law Judge will determine the settlement within 30 days of receiving it. If they approve it, your employer must pay it to you within 10 days of the settlement. Should your employer fail to pay within that period, they could owe you even more money.

If you find that you are eligible to receive compensation from the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, then you should file for it as soon as you can. You have enough to worry about with your condition, so having the LHWCA provide coverage for your medical expenses can take away some of the stress from the situation.

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