Fortunately, it is beginning to look like the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic is fading away.  That, however, does not mean that it has gone away completely, and those who have recently contracted or may contract, Covid-19 still need protection, particularly if they contracted the virus at work.  

For longshoremen and other employees who are covered by the federal government’s workers’ compensation law, the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (Longshore Act) there is some good news.  Claims related to Covid-19 are generally covered by the Longshore Act.  In this article, we will discuss some Longshore Act basics, and then answer some important questions about Covid-19 claims under the Longshore Act. 

If, after reading this article, you have more questions about your own circumstances, then the Longshore Act attorneys in Jacksonville at RITE Law are here to help.  At RITE Law, we have a group of workers’ compensation attorneys in Jacksonville who have your best interests at heart, and who have the training and resources to make sure that you receive the compensation you deserve.  Our number is (904) 500-RITE or you can fill out our contact form online.  We provide a free case evaluation, so call today.

Longshore Act Claims Process in General

While making a workers’ compensation claim under the Longshore Act may seem cumbersome, it is worthwhile for you to do so when you are injured or contract Covid-19 on the job.  

First and foremost, when injured on the job, you should make sure to get the medical attention you need.  Then, as soon as possible, have your employer give you the paperwork you need to make a Longshore Act claim.  As part of your claim, you will need to alert the Department of Labor’s Division of Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation (DLHWC) of your injury or illness.  

The DLHWC, which will administer your claim, will make initial recommendations with regard to your eligibility for medical and other benefits.  The DLHWC will also get information from your employer and insurance carrier before making its recommendation.  

It is typical that both parties will engage in an informal conference before the DLHWC makes a recommendation.  Ultimately, the DLHWC will make a recommendation in the form of a formal memorandum to all relevant parties.

What Happens If the Longshore Act Insurance Company Wishes to Dispute the Claim?

If you or your employer/insurer disagrees with the DLHWC’s recommendation – and a Covid-19 claim may very well draw an objection from an employer because one can easily catch Covid-19 outside of the workplace – then you or your employer will file what is called a Form LS-207, which allows the party to explain the disagreement.  

At that point, either you or your employer may choose to refer the case to the Office of Administrative Law Judges.  That is the point at which a formal “adjudication” of your claim has begun. 

Longshore Act Claims Related to Covid-19

As a threshold matter, if you contract Covid-19 at work, then you are covered under the Longshore Act.  You must, however, be prepared to provide evidence that you were diagnosed with Covid-19, and that it is related to your work exposure.  

1. Filing a Covid-19 Claim

Here are the steps you need to take:

1. Notify your employer immediately and ask for authorization to obtain medical treatment.  You can include your choice of physician.

2. Provide written notice of your Covid-19 status to both your employer and the DLHWC.

3. File a written claim for compensation, using Form LS-203 (claim for compensation); or if it is for a loved one, then use Form LS-262.

2. When Does Covid-19 Coverage Begin?

Coverage for a Covid-19 illness begins as soon as the illness requires medical testing or treatment – provided that you have already established it as a compensable work-related illness.  

3. Should I Get Wage Loss Compensation if I Have Covid-19 and Cannot Work?

If you are unable to work for more than three days due to work-related exposure to Covid-19, then you are entitled to loss of wages.  So, if you are incapacitated from work for more than 14 days, then you are entitled to compensation beginning from the first day you were disabled.  

Call the Longshore Act Attorneys in Jacksonville at RITE Law

If you have further questions about Covid-19 and coverage under the Longshore Act, then you should consult with a qualified professional.  At RITE Law, we started the firm for one reason – to help those in Florida and elsewhere have the resources of a firm that was “big enough to fight but small enough to care.”  At Rudolph, Israel, Tucker & Ellis (RITE law), we have the resources and experience to go to trial when it is necessary, and we have the wisdom to advise you appropriately.  

Expect lots of attention, passionate representation, and a healthy disdain for big insurance companies. We believe that leads to the best result possible.  Unlike larger firms, your case isn’t handed to a paralegal or assistant to do the heavy lifting. The attorney you meet initially is the one who will be by your side every step of the way. 

We also take pride in creating an atmosphere where every client is treated like family.  Family members stick up for one another no matter what.  You should expect nothing less from the RITE Law DBA claims attorneys in Jacksonville.

Without help from the RITE team, making your own personal injury claims can be very difficult.  When you turn to our firm, we spring into action, making sure that every detail of your claim is addressed.  Call us for help.  Our number is (904) 500-RITE or you can fill out our contact form online.  We provide a free case evaluation, so feel free to call us today.

The information in this blog post is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice. You should not decide whether or not to contact an attorney based upon the information in this blog post. No attorney-client relationship is formed, nor should any such relationship be implied. If you require legal advice, please consult with an attorney licensed to practice in your jurisdiction.