Workers’ Compensation Practice
As an extension of the litigation services Brown Sims has offered its clients for more than 45 years, Brown Sims also represents many of those clients in connection with statutory compensation law claims. These claims do not just arise in Texas, Louisiana, or Florida—they arise all over the world.
The firm works with adjusters and vendors to thoroughly investigate the issues, to explore the potential for reasonable resolution of the issues early in the process, to pursue alternate sources of relief such as Special Fund relief and reimbursement under the War Hazards Compensation Act, and where appropriate or necessary to present the claim at Formal Hearing and beyond.
State Workers’ Compensation Claims
Brown Sims represents employers and compensation carriers across the United States and abroad in virtually every industry and on subject matters as diverse as the problems that arise in the workplace. Brown Sims has years of experience in the successful handling of workers’ compensation trials in addition to organizing and administering self-insured programs.
The firm’s representation of clients includes all phases of dispute resolution: Benefit Review Conferences (“BRC’s”), arbitration, and Contested Case Hearings (“CCH’s”), reviews before appeals panels, and, if necessary, judicial review in a court of law.
Brown Sims also offers its workers’ compensation clients representation for claims occurring across the globe. In addition to representation in the district courts, the firm also provides representation before the Texas Department of Insurance’s Division of Workers’ Compensation field offices throughout the State and the U. S. Department of Labor throughout the nation. We also represent non-subscriber employers who choose not to obtain workers’ compensation insurance or occupational accident plans.
Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) Claims
In addition to state workers’ compensation claims, Brown Sims also handles disputed claims under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (“LHWCA”).
Longshore insurance coverage can be complex and fact intensive. Whether an employee is covered is an ad hoc determination based upon the specific work being performed by the employee and where that work is performed. In addition to defending disputed LHWCA claims, Brown Sims also counsels its clients on the appropriate treatment and classification of its employees.
Defense Base Act Claims
Brown Sims has handled Defense Base Act (“DBA”) claims for its clients for more than 30 years. Handling these claims was a natural outgrowth of its already comprehensive defense of international injury claims.
Brown Sims was instrumental in the legal effort which led to Fifth Circuit’s decision in AFIA/CIGNA Worldwide v. Felkner, 930 F.2d 1111 (5th Cir. 1991), which clarified for the first time that Benefits Review Board determinations on claims originating under the DBA are appealed to the United States court of appeals for the district in which the deputy commissioner’s office is located.
As contractors who support our military and national interests have moved across the globe, so has the firm’s DBA work. The firm also handles the defense of claims arising out of peacetime work as well as a result of conflicts in Central America, the Caribbean, the Balkans, Iraq and Afghanistan.
Foreign Voluntary Workers’ Compensation
Many of the firm’s clients have workers who are stationed in a foreign country for an extended period of time. Such clients often elect to participate in a Foreign Voluntary Workers’ Compensation program to provide their employees with similar protection and coverage that is available to employees working inside the United States.
Brown Sims assists these clients in determining the classification of employees, the propriety of claims, defending inappropriate claims, and resolving disputed claims.
True to its roots, Brown Sims remains concentrated in the handling of Jones Act claims. In addition to handling disputes over seaman status, seaworthiness, and employer negligence, Brown Sims routinely advises its clients in the maritime industry on the proper characterization and treatment of its employees and contractors and how to properly address claims for benefits.
And So Much More
Our attorneys frequently lecture at seminars and trade association meetings on issues facing employers in ever-changing fields including: wrongful discharge, employment tort litigation, affirmative action, employment contracts, employment benefits litigation, and other labor and employment issues.
Recent Examples of Types of Disputes Handled:
- Under the LHWCA, successfully defended a stevedoring employer against a frivolous claim from an employee for reimbursement of medical expenses, including a cervical surgery.
- Under the DBA, successfully defended a claim for future loss of earnings brought by an employee without a college degree by establishing that his skills and training as a mechanic would allow him to earn just as much or more than he was earning at the time of his injury.
- Under the Texas Workers’ Compensation Act, defeated a claim for benefits by establishing that the claimant employee’s condition pre-existed his actual employment with the client.
- Under the LHWCA, secured an award for minimal benefits for an employer and its carrier where the claimant alleged he was permanently and totally disabled as a result of his physical and mental injuries. His claim for future compensation was denied in its entirety.
- Under the DBA, a claimant while working for a contractor in Afghanistan suffered a stroke resulting in permanent paralysis to the right side of his body and impairing his ability to speak. Brown Sims was hired eight weeks before the formal hearing before the Administrative Law Judge and secured dismissal by way of summary judgment.
- Under the DBA, a claimant while working in Iraq alleged sexual assault, sexual harassment and rape resulting in post-traumatic stress disorder. The claimant also filed civil lawsuits against her employer and alleged assaulter. Brown Sims was able to use claimant’s actions in her lawsuit to secure a summary judgment in favor of its client.