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How to file a claim if you are an injured harbor worker

Longshore and harbor workers are protected by a special federal law called the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act. This law provides a parallel workers' compensation system through the federal government. You file claims with the Division of the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation, also referred to as DLHWC.

The first thing you should do is seek medical attention and then, when you're physically able, report the injury to your employer. Request your employer give you a Form LS-1. This authorizes you to seek treatment from a doctor of your choice.

After you receive treatment, you need to give written notice to your employer within 30 days of your injury. This must be done on Form LS-201. If you are unable to send out this form due to your injuries, then you must have a family member fill out the form on your behalf.

If you think that you suffered a permanently disabling injury, you should file Form LS-203 within one year of the injury (or the last day you received a paycheck). This starts the claims process.

Your claim will be reviewed by the DLHWC. You may contact your local DLHWC office to inquire as to the status of your claim. You can electronically submit any additional documents through the Department of Labor website.

If you were injured while on the job, then you may want to consult with a workers' compensation attorney. Workers' compensation claims can get very complicated very quickly. As you can see, you may have to file paperwork with multiple agencies. Each of these agencies, insurance companies and your employer will have strict deadlines with which you must comply. An attorney can help ensure that you do not lose out of your benefits because of a missed appointment.

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