I got injured and pursued a claim under LHWCA my employer filed a LS 208 and LS 207, my doctors say I am not able to return to work in full capacity. What are the steps and documents I need to request a hearing, then what?
It sounds like the Employer and Carrier have some evidence that you can return to work. You can contact the Department of Labor in Seattle and request an "Informal Conference". No special forms are necesary to request an Informal Conference.
U.S. Department of Labor
1111 Third Avenue, Suite 620
Seattle, WA 98101-3212
Phone: (206) 398-8255
An Informal Conference is an opportunity for you and the Employer/Carrier to discuss the issues and present limited evidence in order to achieve a resolution. No formal rules of evidence apply at an Informal Conference. Following the Informal Conference, the Department of Labor can make non-binding recommendations. The District Director in Seattle has very limited authority to order the Employer/Carrier to pay benefits. If either party is unhappy with the recommendations, either party may file a form LS-18 and request a "Formal Hearing" before an Administrative Law Judge.
Obtaining a setting for a Formal Hearing may take a year or more. During that time, both parties are generally entitled to undertake formal discovery, including Interrogatories, Requests for Production of Documents, and Depositions under oath. At the Formal Hearing, the Administrative Law Judge will take evidence subject to the Administrative Procedures Act. Following the Formal Hearing, he will render an enforceable decision and Order and any benefits are generally required to be paid within ten (10) days.
If your claim is going to a Formal Hearing, I would strongly recommend that you retain an experienced longshore attorney. Under the LHWCA, attorneys fees and expenses are generally assessed against the Employer and Carrier and are not deducted from your benefits. The Longshore Act is significantly different from the Washington Workers Compensation Act, so you will want to find a lawyer who specializes in Longshore claims. There are a number of experienced attorneys in the Seattle area who handle these claims on behalf of workers.