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Office of Workers' Compensation Programs

Division of Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation (DLHWC)

LONGSHORE PROCEDURES
ATTORNEYS/REPRESENTATIVES

In order to establish representation you must have a retainer, signed by the claimant, in the case file. Notice of Retainer Form (Note: This file is only available in PDF format. In order to view and/or print PDF documents you must have a PDF viewer (e.g., Amber or Acrobat Reader) available on your workstation. Also, when printing these files please remember to use the Acrobat Reader print icon and NOT your browser's print icon).

The prescribed form for filing a claim for compensation is Form LS-203. This form, or any writing stating that the identified claimant is seeking benefits and identifying the injury alleged. This must be filed within one year after injury, or, if the employer or its insurer has made payments without a claim having been filed, within a year after the last payment. If the worker was unaware at the time of the on-the-job accident of the true nature, extent, or probable disabling consequences of the harm done, or reasonably did not recognize the connection between a disabling condition and an on-the-job accident, the "injury" will not be regarded as having occured until medical advice or other circumstances revealed the compensability of the condition. If the condition constitutes an "occupational disease" rather than the result of an identifiable accident, the filing period is two years from recognition of its employment-relatedness and disabling character.

LS-203 Form (Note: This file is only available in PDF format. In order to view and/or print PDF documents you must have a PDF viewer (e.g., Amber or Acrobat Reader) available on your workstation. Also, when printing these files please remember to use the Acrobat Reader print icon and NOT your browser's print icon).

If the employer has not already given the claimant authorization for medical treatment by (and at the direction of) his or her choice of a physician, a request for such authorization should be made at the earliest opportunity. If the claimant changes doctors from the attending physician he or she first chose, without first getting permission to do so from the employer or insurer (or, if they refuse, from the district Director), the employer will not be held liable for the new physician's bills.

The Longshore Act is self effecting. Compensation for time lost from work shall become due the fourteenth day after the employer has knowledge of the injury or death. Thereafter compensation shall be paid every two weeks.

If the employer controverts the right to compensation he/she shall file with the District Director on or before the fourteenth day, after knowledge of the alleged injury or death Form LS-207, Notice of Controversion of Right To Compensation.

If concerted discussions with the carrier fail to resolve the issues you may request an informal conference where you, the claimant, the employer or carrier's representative or attorney will appear to discuss the disputed issues. A Longshore claims examiner will preside over the informal conference and make recommendations to encourage informal resolution of the disputes.

If the issues cannot be resolved at the informal level, you may file form LS-18, Pre Hearing Statement. The case will then be referred to the Office of Administrative Law Judges for a formal hearing. The Administrative Law Judge will issue a formal decision and order regarding the benefits claimed.

It is a federal crime for any person to accept payment for services representing a claimant under the Act without having first secured approval of the fee from the appropriate authorities. In many cases the employer is liable for the claimant's attorney's fees; in others, a fee can be awarded to be paid by the claimant. In either event, the attorney must file an application with the district director, administrative law judge, benefits review board, or court, as the case may be, before whom the services were performed, showing in detail the time devoted to the case and any expenses incurred (other than normal office overhead). The application must be sent to the employer or insurer (and, where a fee from the claimant is sought, on him or her), and time will be allowed for a response. No contract with the claimant for a stipulated fee or percentage of recovery is valid. Do not accept or hold, even in escrow, any fees (other than reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenditures) from the claimant-client in advance of approval.

 

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