A “Notice of Controversion” is, simply put, a denial of your workers’ compensation claim under the Defense Base Act (or a claim under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act). If you received a Notice of Controversion in connection with a Defense Base Act claim, then you should read on. There is a whole process that you need to be aware of that will help you get the evidence and information you need to hopefully get past the Notice of Controversion.
In this blog, we will take a moment to give you an overview of the major things you need to know, and some things that you should keep in mind, if you made a Defense Base Act claim and you received a Notice of Controversion in response. Of course, the most important thing you need to know in connection with any Defense Base Act claim – above all else – is that your best bet for objecting to a Notice of Controversion and getting the best shot at maximum compensation under the Defense Base Act is to hire an experienced Defense Base Act attorney.
At Doolittle & Tucker, we have been handling Defense Base Act claims for decades. We understand the “who, what, when, where, and why” with regard to any Defense Base Act issue. That is the kind of expertise that will result in maximum compensation for you, so you can heal from your work-related injuries. Receiving a Notice of Controversion is just one speed-bump in the many challenges that face a Defense Base Act claimant.
We take these cases very seriously, and we are passionate about helping injured victims receive the necessary compensation they deserve. That is why you should at least consider speaking with a Doolittle & Tucker attorney today. It is no cost to you because our professionals offer a free case review. That way you will be able to assess, at no cost, whether we can help you before you need to decide whether legal representation is necessary. We invite you to call us today at 904-396-1734. Doolittle & Tucker, P.A., Attorneys at Law, are the top practitioners in Florida when it comes to the Defense Base Act.
The Initial Claims Process
If you have been injured working for a U.S. contractor overseas, then you know that you get immediate attention from a doctor. You know that you also must notify your employer right away, and eventually filed the necessary work-related-injury claim with the Department of Labor. Typically, if your employer is assisting you with the claims process, and you are advised to file an LS-203 form, called an “Employee’s Claim for Compensation,” then you are likely filing a Defense Base Act claim.
Once you file the LS-203, your employer must file with the Department of Labor an LS-201 form, called a “Notice of Employee’s Injury or Death.” Of course, you will be asked to file, along with your LS-203 or otherwise, additional documentation about your injuries, your initial medical treatment, and your earnings. At this point, having a seasoned Defense Base Act attorney in your corner can be invaluable so that you can provide the information in a way that will maximize your benefit.
Then Comes the Notice of Controversion of Right to Compensation
If your employer (which is really your employer’s Defense Base Act insurance company at this point) files an LS-207 form, called a “Notice of Controversion of Right to Compensation,” that means that your employer is disputing your claim. Essentially, it is denying Defense Base Act workers’ compensation benefits.
There are many reasons why the employer may be disputing your claim. The employer may:
- Believe that the injury did not occur at work,
- Conclude that there was no Defense Base Act coverage when you were injured,
- Find that there is no medical evidence to conclude that you are disabled, or that there is a conflict in the medical evidence, or
- Determine that it needs to investigate further.
At Doolittle & Tucker, we have seen many cases where employers seek to dispute a claim and will take the easy route which is to claim that further investigation is needed. That can occur even if you, the claimant, have solid and clear evidence that you were indeed injured while doing your job.
What to Do If You Receive the LS-207, Notice of Controversion?
The employer is required to provide the reasons for the denial of your claim on the LS-207 form. So, your first order of business if you receive the LS-207 is to review it carefully to figure out the reasons the employer is giving for denying the claim. Knowing what the employer perceives are the problems with your claim will inform you on how to move forward.
Depending upon the deficiencies noted in the LS-207, you will need to gather information and evidence (particularly medical evidence) to show that the reasons for denial on the LS-207 are incorrect and do not hold up based upon the record of evidence you have established. Having an attorney at this point is advisable because attorneys who have handled a number of Defense Base Act claims will know best how to refute denials stated in an LS-207 form.
Getting a Third Party Involved
Once you have received the LS-207 and gathered evidence to refute the employer’s disputes, you will next take part in an informal conference at the Department of Labor district office most convenient for you. The parties – you, your employer, and any attorneys – may appear either in person or by phone. At the conference, the office will hear from both sides on the claim, review the evidence provided, and issue a recommendation that is not binding. You and your employer can agree to follow the recommendation or dispute the issue further.
The next step is to request a hearing before the Office of Administrative Law Judges (ALJ). The hearing before the ALJ is more formal and, at the end, the ALJ issues a binding decision.
There is one additional step for appeal, however. That is the Benefits Review Board. Suffice it to say, however, that there are several levels in which an employer’s denial of a claim can be disputed.
Employ the Skills of Experienced Florida Defense Base Act Attorneys
Now knowing the kind of process involved if you receive a Notice of Controversion with your Defense Base Act claim, the take away from this blog is that you need to get the advice of a capable Defense Base Act attorney. Schedule a free consultation with one of our Defense Base Act attorneys at Doolittle & Tucker today. Call 904-396-1734.