Q: How much time do I have to pursue compensation under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act?
Generally, you have 30 days from the date of injury to notify your employer, and one year to file a formal Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) claim with the U.S. Department of Labor.
While workers typically have 30 days from the date of injury to notify their employer about work-related injuries, there are a couple of exceptions:
- If the injury doesn’t cause immediate disability. In this case, an employee must report his injury no more than 30 days after he is aware—or should have become aware—that his injury caused a disability or missed time from work.
- If the worker suffers from a job-related illness. If an occupational disease leads to a disability or lost time from work, the employee must report it within one year after he knows or should have known about his condition.
The Statute of Limitations
If you receive benefits after notifying your employer of your injuries, you won’t need to do anything else. If not, you must file a LHWCA claim within one year from the date of injury. There are exceptions to this deadline, however:
- Your employer hasn’t filed the Employer’s First Report of Injury. When employers are notified of an injury, they are required to report it to the Department of Labor within 10 days. If they don’t, the statute of limitations will be one year from the date the report is filed.
- Your claim is due to occupational disease. When a LHWCA claim is filed due to an on-the-job illness, the statute of limitations is two years from the date you first discovered that your illness was caused by your employment.
Pursuing Your Claim
You should file your claim sooner rather than later. The longer you delay, the easier it will be for your employer to argue that your injuries are unrelated to your job. You need professional legal representation to help you receive the compensation you deserve. To learn more, contact the law offices of Steve M. Lee, P.C., by clicking the Live Chat button on this page.