Unfortunately, court can be unavoidable for some applying for a claim under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA). Some employers and insurance companies try to come up with arguments and loopholes to prevent Louisiana maritime workers from getting the coverage they deserve for their injuries.
While it is possible to go alone and face off against your employers, you do not have to. The United States Department of Labor advises injured or disabled workers to talk to an attorney for assistance in settling their case. Some may refuse to avoid potential attorney fees, they are missing out on several benefits that come from getting a lawyer’s help.
Providing legal advice
This is not a topic that’s easy to talk about with anyone. Even the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP) cannot offer court advice to the public when it comes to LHWCA claims because they lack experience and qualifications in the legal field.
Your employer and insurance company will have their own legal assistance to find ways to minimize your compensation, so having an attorney with experience in LHWCA cases can help even the playing field.
Attorney fees may not come to you
Some think the benefits of getting more compensation with a lawyer’s assistance might not be worth it with the subsequent attorney fees. However, under the LHWCA, you rarely have to pay them.
The attorney can only collect the fee if they are successful in prosecuting for you and submit the fee petition to the Administrative Law Judge. As the Department of Labor notes, employers or their insurance carriers typically pay the attorney fee for an overwhelmingly large majority of LHWCA cases.
Making the claim process easier
Researching the full details of LHWCA benefits and facing off against your employer by yourself in court can be overwhelming. Your employer and insurance company will collaborate with themselves and their lawyers to come up with multiple ways to defeat you in the courtroom. On top of all this, you have your injury, financial and work issues to deal with as you prepare your case.
With an attorney, filing a claim and taking it to court can become much less stressful. A lawyer with LHWCA experience knows everything about the Act’s laws to help you get more out of your compensation than what was originally promised. Putting too much pressure on yourself can be too risky and damaging for both your claim and yourself.