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Why should I appear in court for the LHWCA?

Unfortunately, getting benefits from the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) is not always an easy task. There are numerous varying factors that could impact how much compensation you would get out of it such as the conditions of your injury and your employer’s response to your plea.

As a Louisiana maritime worker, it is important for you to understand some of the factors that could evolve your injury report into a court case so you can begin properly preparing for the trial.

Employee discrimination

The severity of your injuries may inspire your employer to handle the situation unethically. Once you file a report, they could fire you to avoid any accusations of liability, giving you benefits and having an injured party on the team.

This treatment is strictly prohibited under the LHWCA. If the court finds any act of discrimination, the employer will receive a penalty between $1,100 to $5,500 and has to restore the employee’s status with any wages they lost in the process.

A negligent third party

The LHWCA prohibits you from accusing your employer of liability for the accident. You likely signed a contract prior to your employment that absolves any liability the employer would have to your injury.

However, you can still file a third-party claim if the injury came from someone else. If your pain came from the negligence of a different employee or vessel owner, you can file a 905(b) claim against them. If the vessel owner is the employer, you could seek this additional lawsuit in a third-party claim.

Getting the most out of your benefits

Your employer and the insurance company will try to find any loopholes they can to lessen what they could give you to cover for your injuries. You should research the full extent of the benefits you can receive from the LHWCA and compare it to what they are offering you to see how much they are holding back.

If you are confused on your eligibility for the LHWCA and if your employer is not giving you full compensation, you should contact an attorney that specializes in these laws to help you get the coverage you deserve. You have the right to physically and financially recover thanks to this act, so you need to take full advantage of it.

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