A Dock Accident Attorney Can Help With Your Injury Claim

If you have experienced an injury while performing dock work or other maritime work, you could be entitled to compensation for your medical costs and lost earnings. First, it is important to seek emergency medical attention for your injury and inform your supervisor or employer representative as soon as possible. From there, it is time to begin putting together your claim, and a dock accident attorney at Brais Law can help. 

The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) May Apply to Your Injury

The LHWCA is a federal law that was established to provide coverage for designated maritime workers who are injured on the job. Unless a covered employee caused their injury through an attempt to do intentional harm upon themselves or others or due to intoxication, then they will generally be covered under the LHWCA. This is true even if the employee caused the accident or incident that led to their injuries within the scope of their employment. Compensation for work-related injuries is meant to be guaranteed to employees except for very limited circumstances. This guarantee comes with a trade-off, in that the employee is then not able to also sue their employer for the injuries that are covered under the LHWCA. When a third party was the cause of or contributor to your injuries, however, you may be able to pursue additional damages through a lawsuit against that third party. Determining what options are best given the unique circumstances of your injury can be difficult, but a dock accident attorney can help.

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Who is Covered by the LHWCA?

The LHWCA applies to those who work in the maritime industry and are not excluded from coverage. The LHWCA provides coverage for traditional maritime occupations, including:

  • Longshore workers
  • Shipbuilders or shipbreakers 
  • Ship repairers 
  • Harbor construction workers 

While the majority of traditional maritime occupations are covered through the LHWCA, there are some exemptions, including:

  • Seamen (masters or members of a crew or any vessel)
  • Employees of the US government or any state or foreign government 
  • Employees whose injuries were caused solely due to their intoxication
  • Employees whose injuries resulted from the willful intent to harm others or themselves

When it comes time to collect compensation for your damages, it is important to remember that the insurance company works for profit, not for you. As we’ll discuss below, the insurance company will try to find reasons to deny or reduce your claim however possible, as lower payments to injured people equal higher profits for the insurance company. 

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A Dock Accident Attorney Explains the Kind of Coverage the LHWCA Provides

The purpose of the LHWCA is to help covered injured maritime workers manage and minimize the financial repercussions of their on-the-job injury. When you are hurt on the job, it can put your entire life on hold, as you may have a need for costly and time-consuming medical procedures. Further, your injuries may limit your ability to return to work or earn as much as you had prior to the injury. 

Generally, the LHWCA provides coverage for:

  • Medical care 
  • Vocational rehabilitation services 
  • Payment of compensation 

The amount that you are able to receive for your medical care will depend not only on the immediate emergency treatments needed after the dock accident but also on the long-term costs of treating your injuries.

Some injuries, like back injuries or traumatic brain injuries, can lead to long-term and life-altering disabilities and medical needs. If you do not take the time to fully calculate the future costs associated with your injuries and you ultimately accept a settlement that falls short of your needs, you and your family will have to cover the rest of the related costs out of your own pocket in the future. 

To Receive Compensation, You Must File A Claim

In an ideal world, you would receive complete compensation for your injuries automatically without having to make any extra efforts on your own behalf while trying to recover from your injuries. Unfortunately, this is not the case, and to collect you’ll have to file, have your application accepted, and be presented with an offer of settlement that fully covers your costs. The claims process for your dock accident injury includes: 

  • Notifying your employer in the time specified in your employment agreement 
  • Gathering evidence to prove the extent of your injuries and the cause/s behind them 
  • Calculating the full amount that your injuries will cost, both now and in the future 
  • Drafting your claim by incorporating the evidence and calculations 
  • Filing your claim with the appropriate insurance company 
  • Communicating with the insurance company to provide essential information 
  • Negotiating a settlement on your behalf with the insurance company 
  • Appealing a denial, or 
  • Taking the insurance company to court

The fewer claims that are paid in full and the more claims that are denied, the better the profit margins of the insurance company are. To them, you are just a number, but to the experienced dock accident lawyers at Brais Law Firm, you are a person who deserves to receive the full compensation for your maritime claim that you are owed. 

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What Happens If My Claim Is Denied?

As we mentioned briefly above, insurance companies or your employer themselves will generally be responsible for providing you compensation for your injuries. Insurance companies generate income through the premiums their clients pay, and their costs are mainly the payments made to injured individuals. When the insurance company is able to reduce costs by denying claims or offering less than the injured person deserves, they make more profits. Your rightful claim may be denied by the insurance company in an effort to escape liability for your injuries. Alternatively, insurance companies have been known to deny even rightful claims in the hopes that the applicant will fail to appeal or will accept a lesser amount in settlement. 

How Does A Dock Accident Attorney Help?

If your claim for coverage for the costs and damages associated with your dock injury is denied, we can file an appeal or lawsuit on your behalf. When your initial claim is denied, that is not the end of the road, and you do not necessarily have to cover all the costs and damages linked to your injuries out of your own household budget. Oftentimes, an initial denial from the insurance company is due to a lack of sufficient evidence to prove your claim. If you work with a dock accident injury attorney from our firm, we can craft your initial claim with the best possible chance of approval, or we can fight a denial on your behalf. The appeals process is sometimes a necessary step to take toward receiving the compensation you are entitled to. In other situations, filing a lawsuit is the most direct and effective way to recover what you deserve. Consulting with a dock accident attorney at Brais Law Firm will help to determine what options and strategies are available to you to receive maximum compensation for your injuries and related costs.

Who Will be Handling my Case?

Your case will be handled by an experienced personal injury attorney who knows what it takes to get the results you deserve. The practitioners at our firm have over 70 years of collective trial experience. Our credentials and qualifications are extensive, including an “AV” Preeminent rating by Martindale-Hubbell and membership in the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum. More importantly, we have a first-hand understanding of how insurance carriers operate because we represented clients insured with major insurance companies for nearly 20 years before we made a choice to change sides so that we could help the people who need us most – individuals just like you. Learn more.

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