The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) offers protection for maritime employees who experience work injuries in United States waters. However, you must notify your employer by a specific deadline, or you may not be able to get the support you need.

Notify your employer as soon as possible.

Employees should notify their employers within 30 days of the day they were injured to receive benefits. The Department of Labor must receive the formal claim of the injury within one year.

If your injuries or illness are not immediately apparent, you still have time.

While workers generally need to inform their employer immediately about their injuries, sometimes the full extent of their injuries isn’t immediately known. For example, the symptoms of a traumatic brain injury may appear days after the injury occurred. If the disabling effects of your injury take time to appear, you must report the injury within 30 days of becoming aware that your injury causes disability or time away from work.

In other cases, an illness can occur as a result of the requirements of your job. In these cases of occupational disease, reports must be made within one year of the employee becoming aware of the condition. Hearing loss from daily use of machinery is one example of a condition that may not be immediately apparent but could have a lasting impact on employees’ careers and lives.

What happens if time runs out?

While failing to report your injuries does not prevent you from receiving the medical care you need, you might not receive the financial support necessary to afford that treatment. Delayed reporting may be excused, for example, if you have a good reason for the delay.

It can be essential to keep these deadlines in mind because delays could put your benefits in jeopardy. If you have questions about reporting deadlines or any other limitations on your LHWCA claim, speak to an attorney with experience in helping maritime workers receive the benefits they need. Your lawyer can help you keep these deadlines in mind and get the compensation you deserve.