“When I seek out professional advice, I don’t want B.S., I want it straight up. I figure you do also.”
First Things First
When it comes to Longshore Act Cases, nothing is more important than telling the truth. Nothing is more important than your credibility. You need to be up front and honest about every detail about your case.
Do not exaggerate the fine print. If a judge suspects your not being truthful, then they will dismiss your case. Always be honest. Always tell the truth.
The Next Step
Do your research on Longshore Act Cases and order my free book, Win Your Injury Case: The Ultimate No B.S. Guide To Avoiding Insurance Company Tricks That Ruin Your Case [even before you hire a lawyer].
It is full of helpful and useful information when it comes to your Longshore Act Case.
Need help right now?
Give our office a call at (619) 234-2833. Our team of knowledgeable staff are here to help and listen.
Do I need a Longshore Act Lawyer?
The Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act is the worker's compensation system for injured longshoremen, shipyard workers, and harbor workers in the United States. The Longshore Act is referred to as the LHWCA or US L&H.
Some injured Longshoremen and injured shipyard workers believe they don't need a Longshore Act lawyer, they figure they can save money if they don't have to pay Longshore Act attorney fees. These folks might want to reconsider.
Average Weekly Wage is perhaps the most heavily disputed issue for Longshore Act litigation. Longshore Act Average weekly wage (AWW) is an area where you can really lose money by being taken advantage of by the L&H insurance claims adjuster. Here is an example of what can happen if you don't hire a good Longshore Act Lawyer for your Longshore Act claim:
Suppose you have earnings of $68,456.78 for the 52 weeks prior to your injury. Lets also suppose you are a five day a week worker and you worked 245 days the year before your injury.
Remember, under the LHWCA, the 52 weeks before your injury is always the time period from which AWW is calculated.
Most Longshore adjusters will calculate your AWW with the following basic math:
$68,456.78 divided by 52 weeks = $1,316.48
$1,316.48 x 2/3 = $877.65
The adjuster's "simple math method" gives you an AWW of $1,316.48 and a compensation rate of $877.65.
Not exactly, if you calculate your average weekly wage by this method you might very well be leaving your family's money with the LHWCA insurance carrier. Who do you think needs the money more - your family or the insurance company? That's what I thought, you don't want to be that person.
What am I talking about?
The foregoing was not the correct way to determine US L&H average weekly wage in all circumstances. Let me show you one method the US Department of Labor uses to train their Longshore Act Claim Examiners to determine AWW under the LHWCA.
First, you need to determine how many days you worked in the 52 weeks prior to your injury. For this example, you worked 245 total days the year before you were injured.
Take your total earnings for that 52 week period, in this case - $68,456.78.
Divide $68,456.78 by the 245 days actual worked.
This results in an Average Daily Wage of $279.42.
Multiple that figure by 260 days (52 weeks x 5 days a week).
$279.42 x 260 (because you are a five day a week worker) = $72,649.20.
Then divide by 52 weeks - - this results in an average weekly wage of $1,397.10.
$1,397.10 x 2/3 = $931.40.
The Department of Labor's method gives you an AWW of $1,397.10 and a compensation rate of $931.40.
Remember if you had calculated AWW the way the L&H insurance adjuster says: you would have a Compensation Rate of $877.65 per week.
However, if you used the method that the Department of Labor recommends: you would have a compensation rate of $931.40 per week.
The resulting difference is $53.75 per week. That's approximately $215.00 per month in lost temporary total disability monies.
For a 45 year old shipyard worker with an unscheduled disability that prevents them from returning to their usual and customary work as a shipyard welder- - - the difference can be tens of thousands of dollars in permanent disability monies and temporary total disability monies.
This average weekly wage analysis is intended to demonstrate how you can be taken advantage of by the Longshore Act insurance claims adjuster. There are more rules and circumstances which apply to average weekly wage analysis under the LHWCA. The important thing for you to take away from this article is not to rely on the Longshore Act claims adjuster for your legal advice. Because if you do - - you will usually lose money. Simple, but true.
Disclaimer: Please understand these discussions and/or examples are not legal advice. All legal situations are different. This testimonial, endorsement and/or discussion does not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter, your particular case/ situation and/or this particular case/ situation. Thanks, Bill Turley