You are a longshoreman, you get injured on the job, and you file your claim. Now what?
It is not uncommon to have questions about what comes next after you have put in your claim for a legitimate work-related injury on the job. Of course, an injury that keeps you out of work for any length of time can create a lot of stress. It can cause you to worry about whether you will be able to have enough compensation to help you pay the mortgage, get the kids the clothes and supplies they need for school, or put food on the table.
If you are in that situation, then you would do well to speak with an attorney who has experience with longshoreman workers’ compensation insurance issues. While you may think that calling an attorney will simply add more costs to your already strained budget, it may be a good idea in the long run. Simply take advantage of a free consultation with a longshoreman workers’ compensation attorney to see if having an attorney’s help is worthwhile.
It is very possible that a seasoned attorney will help you maximize your longshoreman workers’ compensation insurance benefits. Accordingly, consider calling us at Doolittle & Tucker. We have been handling longshoreman workers’ compensation insurance claims for decades, and we know how to make sure that you get all of the benefits you deserve. Call us to schedule a free case review today at 904-396-1734.
What Workers’ Compensation Program Am I Under?
Virtually all private-sector and public-sector workers in the U.S. are covered by some type of workers’ compensation. The federal government typically plays a limited role in workers’ compensation. It only covers federal workers and certain specific classes of private-sector workers.
Longshore and harbor workers are one of those select classes of private-sector workers for which the federal government administers workers’ compensation. The workers’ compensation for those workers falls under a law called the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act.
Accordingly, if you are a private-sector employee engaged in longshore, harbor, or other maritime occupations on or adjacent to the navigable waters of the U.S., then you are covered by the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (Longshore Act).
What Benefits Can I Expect Under the Longshore Act?
The Longshore Act provides a number of workers’ compensation benefits including medical benefits for covered injuries and illnesses, disability benefits to partially cover lost wages due to a work-related injury or illness, and survivors benefits to families of those workers who suffer fatal injuries on the job.
- Medical Benefits
If you need to undergo medical treatment for your work-related injuries, the Longshore Act will fully cover the cost of any related medical treatment. What is particularly helpful is that the medical benefits are provided without any deductibles, copayments, or costs paid by you, the injured workers.
In addition, prescription medication and any required medical procedures are also fully covered without any out-of-pocket expenses for you. In fact, even the costs associated with traveling to and from the doctor’s office and other medical appointments are covered. That is as it should be given that you were injured while working for your employer.
Under longshoreman workers’ compensation insurance, you are able to select your own treating physician as long as your physician has not had any previous issues regarding the Longshore Act in the past.
- Vocational Rehabilitation
If, because of your injuries, you require vocational rehabilitation services to assist you in returning to work, those costs are fully covered under longshoreman workers’ compensation insurance, i.e., the Longshore Act. In fact, workers who are actively participating in a rehabilitation program are eligible for an additional benefit of $25 per week.
- Disability Benefits
The Longshore Act will provide you, as an injured worker, with disability payments to partially cover your lost wages due to your inability to work. Your disability payments are based on your pre-injury wages.
The Longshore Act allows for a calculation of your average weekly wage (AWW) as a way to determine your pre-injury wages for disability payment purposes. The minimum weekly benefit that can be paid to a disabled employee is 50% of the AWW, and the maximum weekly benefit that can be paid is equal to 200% of the AWW.
Like all workers’ compensation benefits, Longshore Act benefits are not subject to federal income taxes. In addition, Longshore Act benefits are adjusted for wage inflation annually, which is something that most state workers’ compensation benefits do not provide.
Under longshoreman workers’ compensation insurance, you are considered totally disabled if you are unable to earn your pre-injury wage because of the work-related injury or illness. Total disability benefits under the Longshore Act are equal to two-thirds of your wage at the time of the injury or illness. Total disability benefits are paid to you throughout your lifetime or until you are no longer totally disabled.
If you are able to return to work after an injury, but at a wage level that is less than what your wage was at the time of the injury, then you are considered partially disabled. If you are a case of temporary partial disability, then you will receive two-thirds of the difference between your pre-injury wage and your current actual earnings.
In the case of permanent partial disability (such as losing a limb), then the Longshore Act has a specific benefits table. In such cases, you can receive your wage at work and also receive permanent partial disability compensation.
Further, if an illness does not manifest until after you retire, you are still eligible to receive disability benefits after retirement, usually at two-thirds your AWW.
If you are fatally injured on the job, the Longshore Act provides payments to your surviving spouses and minor children. Typically, benefits for a surviving spouse will last until the spouse passes away, or remarries. Benefits for minor children will typically last until they reach the age of 18, age 23 if a full-time student, or for the life of a child with a disability.
Doolittle & Tucker Knows Longshoreman Workers’ Compensation Insurance
At Doolittle & Tucker, we have the experience and resources to make sure that you receive all of the workers’ compensation to which you are entitled. Let us help you with your Longshore Act claim. Call us today at 904-396-1734.