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The Turley & Mara Law Firm, APLC

Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers to your questions about the Jones Act, DBA, California workers’ compensation, or employment law. If you have more questions, contact us.

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  • What is a Notice of Controversion, and how does it affect my Defense Base Act case?

    What Is an LS-207 - - Notice of Controversion?

    An LS-207 Notice of Controversion is a form. But this form can, and usually will, cause you a lot of problems.

    Under the Defense Base Act, the employer (read: the DBA insurance company) is supposed to file an LS-207 - - Notice of Controversion when they cut off your Defense Base Act benefits.  Or whenever they deny your claim.

    It is called “LS” because of “Longshore.”

    "207" is the form number.

    If the DBA insurance company is not providing you with weekly compensation benefits (i.e. a weekly compensation check), then they will usually file a LS-207 - Notice of Controversion with the US Department of Labor and you will be sent a copy.


    Read the fine print

    The LS-207 will usually state the reasons why the Defense Base Act insurance company is denying your benefits. Read it carefully. Your job is to marshal the evidence in your case to overcome the reason(s) why the insurance carrier is denying your Defense Base Act claim.

     If the DBA insurance company has sent you an LS-207 - Notice of Controversion, you need to make sure you read it and get the documentation necessary to overcome the reasons why the DBA insurance company is denying your claim.


    The Defense Base Act insurance company sent me a Notice of Controversion - what should I do?

    This is a very common question. The simple and easy answer:  it's time to lawyer-up.

    It's time to find the very best Defense Base Act Lawyer you can. However, I realize you might want more than advice than "Hire a good Defense Base Act Lawyer." While this is the best advice I can give you - I will also provide some candid insight. Read on.


    This is no time to dilly-dally

    You need to get the evidence needed to win your case.

    For example, a well written doctor’s report, that says your injury/ disability was caused and/or aggravated due to your being overseas.

    Next, you need to immediately request an Emergency Informal Conference.  Then you must have Recommendations issued by the OWCP claims examiner. Then you must file a LS-18 in order to get a trial scheduled. I discuss this in  more depth in this article.


    A “get in line and wait” system

    The quicker you get your case to the Judge's office and start waiting in line for your trial and then your Decision and Order, the quicker you will get your weekly disability benefits, medical treatment, etc. Sometimes once you get the necessary documentation (i.e., a medical report), the DBA insurance carrier will start providing you with weekly compensation benefits.  Oftentimes, the threat of a trial will get the DBA insurance company to provide benefits or settle cases.

    If this has happened to you, right about now would be a good time for you hire the best DBA lawyer you can find. Hey, know this - hiring a DBA lawyer doesn't have to be painful or stressful - and it shouldn't be.

    Be ready

    In other words, you need to prepare today for the DBA insurance company cutting off your Defense Base Act weekly benefits or not approving needed medical care. This is the number one reason why you need to lawyer-up before your benefits are cut off. If you get an LS-207 Notice of Controversion in the mail - - don't wait - immediately hire the best Defense Base Act Lawyer you can find. This is how the DBA insurance company tells you they are denying your claim.

    The biggest problem with DBA claims (it sucks, but it's the way it is)

    The biggest single problem with the DBA / Longshore system is that there is no deterrent to prevent insurance companies from denying claims. All the insurance company has to do is to file an LS-207 Notice of Controversion and they can stop providing you benefits that there is nothing to stop them from doing this.

    All the DBA insurance carrier has to do is file an LS-208 Notice of Controversion and there is nothing that you or the Judge can do about it under the law.  They type “Investigating the claim.”  And the law says that is a perfectly fine reason for the DBA insurance company to deny your claim, even if you have the most rock-solid evidence to support your claim.

    It really sucks

    Me telling you that this is the way it is, is far better than me trying to blow smoke up your skirt. My job is to tell you the way it is. I'm all about telling you the truth. And this sucks. There is no two ways about it. You need to know the way the system works. 

    Don't mistake this harsh reality with me suggesting that you should give up on your case. Far from it.  You're way to fight this is for you to put together (read: marshal) the best evidence you can in order to fight this.

    What you really need to do

    I realize I am being a little simplistic here and I explain all of this in more depth in my 5 Star book - Win Your Defense Base Act Case.

    Click here for the 5 Star  amazon.com reviews of my book.

    What you're going to see is my book is the very best investment you can make in your DBA case.  You can get a copy for free on this website or go to amazon.com and pay for it.  Before you dismiss this idea, go to amazon.com and check out the dozens of 5 Star reviews.


    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. 

  • How do I know if my job is covered by California’s Wage Order Number 9?

    California's Wage Order Number 9 Covers Transportation Industry Employees

    Wage Order Number 9 applies to workers in California’s transportation industry. The term “transportation industry” is used to refer to any business or establishment that carries persons or property from one place to another by road, rail, air or water. It includes all operations and services connected with the transport of persons and property, including storage and warehousing and the parking, repair, maintenance, cleaning, and rental of vehicles.


    Industries Covered by California’s Wage Order Number 9

    Air Transportation

    • Airlines
    • Air delivery services
    • Airplane maintenance companies
    • Baggage handling companies

    Ground Transportation

    • Ambulance services
    • Armored car services
    • Bus lines
    • Car rental agencies
    • Car washes (non-retail)
    • Courier services
    • Garages that are not operated by a car dealer or gas station
    • Garbage collection services
    • Limousine services
    • Logging trucks (commercial)
    • Moving and storage companies
    • Package and parcel delivery companies
    • Parking garages and parking lots
    • Storage garages
    • Taxi services
    • Tire aligning and balancing companies
    • Tour buses
    • Tow trucks
    • Transportation companies
    • Truck rentals
    • Trucking companies
    • Trucking companies (agricultural)
    • Vehicle repair
    • Vehicle maintenance businesses
    • Warehouse and storage facilities

    Water Transportation

    • Boats
    • Boat rentals
    • Cruise ships
    • Ferries
    • Ship rentals
    • Ship repair
    • Stevedores
    • Water taxis

    Rail Transportation

    • Railways

    Truck drivers, delivery drivers, and commercial drivers are covered by California’s Wage Order Number 9, yet these workers rarely get the rest breaks and meal periods guaranteed by state law. This is because employees don’t always understand their rights.


    If you think you have a California wage and hour case, make sure that you choose an experienced attorney. Attorneys who don’t specialize in truck, delivery and commercial driver law may undervalue your claim because they don’t understand California’s wage and hour law and how it applies to drivers.

  • What are the rules governing overtime wages in California?

    Federal Law requires employers to pay overtime wages to any eligible worker who works more than 40 hours in a workweek (168 consecutive hours). Overtime pay is paid at a rate no less than one and one-half times the regular pay rate (time and a half). California overtime rules build on federal laws, but there are significant differences.

    California's 8-hour Workday

    One important difference between California overtime law and federal overtime law is California’s 8-hour workday. In California, non-exempt employees are entitled to overtime pay when they work more than eight hours in a single day. The worker must be paid time and a half for the extra work.

    There is an exception:  California employers may offer an alternative workweek. For example, a dental office may ask its hygienists to work four 10-hour days instead of five 8-hour days in order to offer evening appointments. Employees must be given a chance to vote on the alternative schedule. The schedule must be approved by two-thirds of the employees in the affected work unit. In this case, the employees could work up to ten hours without receiving overtime.


    California's 12-hour Double-Time

    Eligible employees who work more than 12 hours in a single day, are entitled to receive twice their regular rate of pay for those work hours.


    California's 40-hour Work Week

    Both federal and state laws require payment of overtime wages to employees who work more than 40 hours in a 7-day work week. This rule applies to any period of 168 consecutive hours.


    California's 7th Consecutive Day Rule

    A California employee who works for seven consecutive days in a single workweek, is entitled to time-and-a-half overtime for the first eight hours worked on the seventh workday.


    Are You Covered by California’s Overtime Laws?

    There are exemptions to California’s overtime law. Workers who receive a salary that is at least twice minimum wage ($10.50 per hour) are exempt from overtime. The worker must also qualify as an exempt professional, exempt executive, or exempt administrator. Firefighters, police officers, government employees, and certain computer professionals are also overtime exempt.

    If an employee is misclassified as overtime exempt, his employer must pay the employee any unpaid overtime as well as penalties, interest and attorney’s fees.

    If you believe that you are owed overtime, contact a skilled California wage and hour attorney. The attorney will be able to tell you if your employer owes you money.

  • How are my disability benefits calculated under the Defense Base Act?


    Compensation is Based on Average Weekly Wage

    If you are injured at work and unable to do your job for three days or longer, you are eligible for disability benefits under the Defense Base Act (DBA). These benefits are paid to you 14 days after your employer is notified of your injury. So, make sure you let your employer know that you were hurt and are unable to work. You will need to do this in writing using form LS 201.

    There are four types of disability compensation benefits under the DBA:

    1. Temporary Total
    2. Temporary Partial
    3. Permanent Total with annual increases
    4. Permanent Partial

    Regardless of whether your disability is partial or full, temporary or permanent, your compensation is based on your average weekly wage or AWW. All compensation is subject to a Maximum Compensation Rate, which is adjusted each year on October 1. The current rate is $1,436.48 per week.

    Temporary Total Disability (TTD): Temporary total disability is granted if your injury leaves you completely unable to work for a short period of time. TDD benefits equal two-thirds of your AWW for the period that you are unable to work.

    Temporary Partial Disability (TPD): A person is considered to have a temporary partial disability if he is able to work, but cannot work as many hours as usual or must do a lower-paying job.  TPD benefits are calculated as 2/3 of the difference between the employee’s AWW and his earnings while partially disabled.

    Permanent Total Disability (PTD): Permanent total disability benefits are awarded when an injury leaves you unable to work for an indefinite period of time. PTD calculated as two-thirds of your AWW. Permanent disability benefits are subject to an annual increase based on the U.S. national average weekly earnings. The adjustment is applied on October 1 of each year. Permanent disability benefits are payable as long as the disability continues.

    Permanent Partial Disability (PPD): If you have a permanent partial disability, you are able to work, but you may be unable to do your former job.  There are two ways PPD is calculated. If you have a scheduled disability, you will receive a percentage of your AWW for a predetermined period of time. The percentage is based on your disability rating. If you have an unscheduled disability, you will receive 2/3 of the difference between your AWW and your current earnings.

    Determining the appropriate disability compensation can be difficult. If you don’t agree with your employer’s assessment of your disability, you should seek a second opinion. The Defense Base Act attorneys at The Turley & Mara Firm can help. We offer a FREE consultation to discuss your case.


  • How is a vessel defined under Jones Act law?

    Any American Owned Watercraft That Can be Used to Transport Goods or Passengers can be Considered a Jones Act Vessel.

    The Jones Act offers legal protection for maritime workers who are injured while in service to a Jones Act vessel. Among the most important of Jones Act protections is the right to directly sue an employer when injuries are caused by the employer’s negligence. Other workers do not have this right.

    To qualify as a Jones Act vessel, a vessel must be owned by an American individual or company.  For a maritime worker to be considered a Jones Act seaman, he must be the master or a member of a Jones Act vessel’s crew. How do you know if you work on a Jones Act vessel?

    There are many ways to work on the water. While it is easy to recognize a cruise ship or barge as being a vessel, it is harder to decide if an offshore drilling rig or floating dormitory meets that definition.   

    In 2005, the Supreme Court (Stewart v. Dutra Construction) determined that under the Jones Act, the definition of vessel may include “every description of Watercraft or other artificial contrivance used or capable of being used, as a means of transportation on water.”  This means that any watercraft that can be used to transport goods or passengers can be considered a Jones Act Vessel.

    Under this definition, it is easy to recognize cargo ships, supply boats, tankers, freighters, fishing boats, ferries, cruise ships, tugboats, and barges as vessels. But offshore drilling units, jack-up rigs, semi-submersible rigs, dredges, docks, and floating work platforms may also be considered vessels under some circumstances.

    The definition of a Jones Act vessel can be a deciding factor in determining the outcome of a Jones Act injury case. If you have any questions about whether you qualify for Jones Act protection, contact a California maritime lawyer.



    Need Help Today?

    Give us a call. (619) 234-2833 


    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.

  • What is meant by the term “navigable waters” when discussing Jones Act Law?


    The Jones Act covers any maritime worker or employee who spends more than 30 percent of his time in the service of a Jones Act vessel on a navigable waterway. In the past, federal courts have interpreted the term “navigable waterways” to include almost any large body of water. The Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico are considered navigable waterways, but so are California’s harbors, rivers and inland lakes.  


    Here is a list of navigable bodies of water in California:  

    • Pacific Ocean
    • San Francisco Bay
    • San Pedro Bay
    • Bodega Bay
    • Half Moon Bay
    • San Pablo Bay
    • Suisun Bay
    • Port of San Diego
    • Port of Los Angeles
    • Port of San Francisco
    • Port of Oakland
    • Port Hueneme
    • Port of Stockton
    • Port San Luis
    • Port of Redwood City
    • Port of Richmond
    • Port of West Sacramento
    • Port of Long Beach
    • Stockton Channel
    • Humboldt Bay Harbor
    • Oceanside Harbor
    • Newport Harbor
    • Santa Barbara Harbor
    • Morro Bay Harbor
    • Channel Islands Harbor
    • Dana Point Harbor
    • Avalon Harbor
    • Pillar Point Harbor
    • Santa Cruz Harbor
    • Moss Landing Harbor
    • Crescent City Harbor
    • Clipper Yacht Harbor
    • Marina del Rey Harbor
    • Ventura Harbor
    • Noyo Harbor
    • Wilmington Harbor
    • Santa Cruz
    • Alcatraz Wharf
    • Berkeley Marina
    • Sausalito Marina
    • Vallejo Marina
    • Porto Bodega Marina
    • Point Area Cove
    • Sacramento River
    • San Joaquin River
    • Colorado River
    • Klamath River
    • Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta
    • Lake Tahoe
    • Mono Lake
    • Clear Lake
    • Lake Shasta
    • Lake Almanlor
    • Lake Havasu
    • Lake Oroville
    • Trinity Lake
    • San Luis Reservoir

    Working on the water is very dangerous. Seamen face many of the same risks as land based workers: overexertion, repetitive motion injuries, slip-and-fall accidents, and dangers from falling objects. They also face unique risks. The Jones Act is a federal law that protects those who work on the water if they are injured while working. Unlike workers’ compensation, the Jones Act allows maritime workers to take action against negligent employers.

    If you have been injured while working on a passenger ship, cargo ship, oil tanker, tugboat, oil rig, fishing boat, barge, ferry, tour boat, or any other vessel that regularly travels the waters of California, you may be covered under Jones Act Law.  Find out more about your rights; contact the California Jones Act attorneys at The Turley & Mara Law Firm, APLC to schedule a free consultation.


  • What is California Workers' Compensation Salary Continuation?

    Salary Continuation

    Some California employers have plans that pay all your wages for all or part of the time you are temporarily disabled. These plans are called salary continuation. There are different kinds of salary continuation plans. Some salary continuation plans use your vacation and/or sick leave to supplement the TD payments required by California workers' compensation law.



    Standing Up For Your Rights

    We stand up to the workers' compensation insurance company that is trying to keep you from getting needed medical treatment and weekly compensation benefits.


    Call us today to find out more at 619-234-2833

    or toll-free at 866-705-4617


  • Is there a Federal OSHA office in San Diego?


    The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has opened a new area office at 550 West C. St., Suite 970, in San Diego. This office supports OSHA's increased activity and strengthened enforcement in Southern California.

    The new area director of OSHA's San Diego office is Tom Carle, a safety engineer and a certified safety professional who has been with OSHA for more than 12 years. He has worked in OSHA's Bridgeport and Allentown, Pa., area offices. Prior to his selection for this position, he served as the assistant area director in Allentown.

    "With the brand new area office in San Diego, we will improve service to workers and employers in California and enhance our coordination and oversight with the state plan," said Ken Nishiyama Atha, OSHA's regional administrator in San Francisco, Calif. "This presence ultimately will ensure workers are better protected."

    Employers and workers with questions regarding workplace safety and health standards can call OSHA's San Diego Area Office at 619-557-5030 or the agency's toll-free hotline at 800-321-6742 to report workplace accidents, fatalities or situations posing an imminent danger to workers.


  • Can my first California workers compensation temporary disability payment be delayed?

    Delays in receiving California workers compensation checks are common in California. 

    If the claims administrator “says” they are having difficulty determining whether your injury is covered by workers' compensation, they may delay your first California temporary total disability (called TTD) payment while investigating your claim. The delay is typically no more than 90 days. The claims administrator must send you a delay letter if there is a delay. It must explain why you won't receive payments, what additional information the claims administrator needs and when a decision will be made. If there are further delays, the claims administrator must send you additional delay letters.



    What if I haven’t received a letter denying my claim?

    If the claims administrator doesn't send you a letter denying your claim within 90 days after you filed the claim form, your claim is considered accepted. If you don’t receive a temporary total disability check immediately after you are injured, you need to file for State Disability.  Or California SDI - State Disability Insurance. This isn’t welfare. Each week you have State Disability deducted from your check.   Be sure to apply as soon as possible.  You will need to have your doctor certify that you are unable to work.


    Third Party Cases

    California has some of the lowest and most unfair workers' compensation benefits in America. Because of this, you need to have your case reviewed to see if you have a viable third party work injury case. A third-party work injury case is civil a lawsuit where someone other than your employer is legally responsible for your injuries.


    Need Help Today?

    Give us a call at (619) 234-2833


    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. 

  • How long do cases take?

    If you are seriously injured, most insurance companies and Defendants will not settle a case until a lawsuit is filed. 

    There are exceptions to this rule.  However, by and large, in the areas where we practice - you will probably need to file a lawsuit.



    When a lawsuit is filed in California Superior Court, the court will have a hearing called a Case Management Conference usually a few months after the Complaint is filed and served on the Defendant(s).  At this hearing, the court will set specific deadlines in your case including the date for the first and second exchange of expert information, the discovery and motion cut-off deadline, the date for a trial readiness conference and a trial call date.  Due to the nature of litigation, trial dates may change as new situations arise.

    Your trial date will be determined by many factors including the availability of the court, the length of your trial, the availability of witnesses, the trial calendar of your attorney and the defendants’ attorneys, the amount of evidence, etc. 


    However, most cases go to trial within 1-2 years of filing the Complaint though each case is unique and different.  

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