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Longshore Claims

Several statutes govern longshore claims including the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Act (LHWCA). The LHWCA covers claims by maritime workers for personal injury and wrongful death. To be considered a maritime worker, the person must be performing a ship's service and must have a substantial relationship to the vessel that contributes to the mission or function of the ship.

The Seattle Longshore District Office has jurisdiction over Alaska, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming. It also has Defense Base Act jurisdiction over Canada, west of the 110th degree west longitude, and all areas in the Pacific Ocean north of the 45th degree north latitude.

Attorney for Longshore Claims in Seattle, WA

If you have a longshore claim under the LHWCA, you should seek the service of a qualified and experienced attorney. The attorneys at Anderson Carey Williams & Neidzwski share a love of the sea and a passion for protecting the rights of members of the maritime community.

Our maritime lawyers at Anderson Carey Williams & Neidzwski fight longshore and harbor worker claims. We have represented clients from all over, with offices in Bellingham and Seattle, Washington, Portland, Oregon, and San Francisco, California. Each member of our legal team understands how complex longshore claims can be. Our attorneys are experienced in longshore claims cases and will fight to help you achieve the best possible outcome for your case.

Keep in mind that under 33 U.S.C. § 928, your attorney can collect a fee only if successful in prosecuting the longshore case. In other words, the attorney only gets a fee when the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) awards one.

The ALJ makes a fee determination only after the attorney who represented the claimant files a fee petition and the opposing side has been given the chance to make objections. In the overwhelming majority of successful cases, fees and costs are paid by either the employer or the employer’s insurance carrier.

To discuss your case, call 1 (800) 262-8529 today.


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What To Do If You are Injured

If you are a longshore worker and were injured on the job, you should immediately inform your employer of the injury. Your employer is required to provide you with a Form LS-1. The Form LS-1 will authorize you to seek medical treatment from a physician of your choice.

Have you had a recent workplace injury? It is in your best interest to contact an attorney. Your attorney can successfully guide you through filing your Form LS-201with your employer within 30 days. You should also file a written compensation claim no more than one year from the date of injury or death, or from the last compensation payment using Form LS-203.

In some cases, the injury or ailment is not immediately apparent. In those cases, an injured worker has 2 years from the date he or she becomes aware that the illness or injury was a result of their employment to file a claim.


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Where are Longshore Claims Filed?

All longshore claims are filed at the Office of Workers Compensation Programs (OWCP), Division of Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation (DLHWC) and assigned to a district office.

The following are all locations for the Longshore District Offices:

The parties to the claim including the claimant, employer, and insurance carrier are permitted to request an “informal conference” with the District Director or Claims Examiner. After the informal conference, the Claims Examiner issues a recommendation.

Any of the parties can request a formal hearing from the Office of the Chief Administrative Law Judges (OALJ) as provided in 20 C.F.R. § 702.331 et seq. Additionally, the parties can request the case be referred to OALJ without an informal conference.


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Longshore Claims Transferred to OALJ

After a request for the case to be transferred to the Office of Administrative Law Judges (OALJ), the OALJ will assign a docket number to the claim. The OALJ will then send it to the appropriate office to be included in an administrative law judge's (ALJ) case docket.

The ALJ will then schedule the hearing. The ALJ will provide a Notice of Hearing to set a time and place for the hearing. Prior to the hearing, the parties will engage in the discovery process by taking depositions or serving interrogatories. The parties can request that the OALJ issue a subpoena if documents are needed.

If the parties reach a settlement prior to the hearing, the parties can request that a "Settlement Judge.” A Settlement Judge can set up a meeting in order to discuss settling the claim.


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Procedures at the Longshore Claim Hearings

At the hearing on the longshore claim, the parties will be given the opportunity to call witnesses to testify and present evidence as provided in 20 C.F.R. § 702.338 et seq. A court reporter will create the official record of the proceeding.

The ALJ’s decision and order will be prepared within 20 days of the completion of the hearing. Compensation must be paid within 10 days after it becomes due. Both parties will be mailed a copy of the decision within 24 hours of the day of filing. Any party can request a reconsideration of the decision. However, the Motion for Reconsideration must be filed within 10 days of the filing of the decision as required by 20 C.F.R. § 802.206.


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Appeals with the Benefits Review Board

Within 30 days of the filing of the decision, the parties can file an appeal as explained in 20 C.F.R. § 702.393. The instructions for filing an appeal are on a notice accompanying the copy of the decision that both parties receive from OWCP.

If any party files a Motion for Reconsideration, the time for filing an appeal with the Board is delayed until the ALJ issues an Order on Reconsideration.

Once the Board dockets an appeal, it issues a Notice setting out the briefing schedule and procedural requirements. The Board may affirm, reverse or modify the ALJ’s decision. Additionally, it may remand the case for further proceedings before the ALJ. After the Board issues its decision, any further proceedings go to the federal circuit courts of appeal. This excludes some Defense Base Act cases which are appealed to federal district court.

The Benefits Review Board exercises the appellate review authority executed by the United States District Courts prior to 1973. The decisions of the Benefits Review Board may be appealed to the United States Courts of Appeals, and from there on to the United States Supreme Court.


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Contact Information for the District Offices of the Longshore District Office


Region X — Seattle

Longshore District Office 14, Seattle
U.S. Department of Labor
OWCP/DLHWC
300 5th Avenue, Suite 1050L
Seattle, WA 98104
Phone: (206) 504-5287
Fax: (206) 467-1073 District Director: R. Todd Bruininks
Regional Director: Christy Long

The Seattle Longshore District Office has jurisdiction over all of the following states: Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming. The Seattle Longshore District Office also has Defense Base Act jurisdiction over Canada, west of the 110th degree west longitude, and all areas in the Pacific Ocean north of the 45th degree north latitude.


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Region IX — San Francisco

Longshore District Office 13, San Francisco
U.S. Department of Labor
OWCP/DLHWC
90 7th Street, Suite 15100
San Francisco, CA 94103-6716
Phone: (415) 625-7669
Fax: (415) 625-7470
District Director: R. Todd Bruininks
Regional Director: Christy Long

The San Francisco Longshore District Office has jurisdiction over Northern California (the entire San Francisco Region and north of the northern boundaries of the counties of San Luis, Obispo, Kern, and San Bernardino, as well as the States of Arizona and Nevada).


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Long Beach Longshore District Office

Longshore District Office 18, Long Beach
U.S. Department of Labor
OWCP/DLHWC
501 W. Ocean Blvd., Suite 6230
Long Beach, CA 90802
Phone: (562) 980-3577
Fax: (562) 980-3587 District Director: Marco Adame
Regional Director: Christy Long

The Long Beach Longshore District Office has jurisdiction over claims in California (south of the northern boundaries of the counties of San Luis, Obispo, Kern, and San Bernardino).


This article was last updated Wednesday, July 18, 2018.

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