Compensation is available to employees holding waterfront jobs who are not protected by the Jones Act, which requires victims to be “seamen.” Alternatively, the Longshore and Harbor Worker’s Compensation Act is a comprehensive benefit system designed specifically for every injured maritime worker not classified as a seaman. The LHWCA was designed to fill a gap between the state’s workers compensation program and protection provided by the Jones Act.
Common Injuries Sustained By People Working In Busy Harbors & Ports
Working on and around open water can be a dangerous job even under the best conditions. The most common injuries suffered by harbor workers injured in their workplace occur because of some dangerous condition which might involve:
- Explosions and fires
- Vehicle accident
- Machinery malfunction injury
- Scaffolding accident
- Falling heavy objects
- Forklift and crane injury
- Slip and fall
- Injuries and accidents involving material handling
- Defective equipment accident
- Exposure to toxic chemicals including ammonia, chlorine, creosote and asbestos
- Occupational disease
Other serious injuries suffered by harbor workers include repetitive motion injuries (RMI) and repetitive strain injury. Often times, the harbor worker must endure work-related chronic medical conditions to their hands, shoulders, neck, wrists, knees and back.
Available Compensation for Injured Longshoremen
To obtain compensation, the injured marine worker is required to file a claim as quickly as possible. In fact, notification of the injury must be made to the employer within 30 days and a claim file within a year from when the injury occurred. Benefits provided under an LHWCA claim include compensation for:
- Medical expenses
- Temporary or permanent disability payments
- Rehabilitation and physical therapy as a part of the healing process
- Wrongful death benefit available to surviving family members
Typically, the amount of disability benefits equals 66 percent of an average weekly wage paid during the healing process. To be eligible to receive benefits, the injured victim is not required to show negligence as the cause of the accident. There are cases where the injured victim is entitled to a higher amount of recovery in a negligence lawsuit when it can be shown that additional third parties are also at fault for the injuries.
Much like state Worker’s Compensation programs, the LHWCA forbids injured workers to file for compensation against their employer through a negligent lawsuit. However, the regulations of the act allow filing a supplementary claim against any third party including equipment manufacturers and ship owners that directly or indirectly contributed to the accident with injuries.
Why Hiring an Attorney Is Necessary to Protect Your Rights Under the Longshore & Harbor Workers Act
In many cases, the claims adjuster working for an insurance company will deny a claim for benefits because of missing documents and other evidence to support a case for compensation. With legal representation, an attorney can provide valuable services including assisting the victim in preparing and filing a claim in a timely manner. The lawyer can provide legal counsel and answer any questions, negotiate a settlement and when necessary, challenge any denial of the claim. An attorney will secure every eligible benefit to ensure that the injured victim is compensated adequately.
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers: Determined to Protect Your Rights After an Accident
If you, or your loved one, are suffering injuries from a harbor worker accident caused by the negligence of another, you have a legal right to seek compensation. It is essential to file for benefits to ensure you receive maximum benefits for the injuries you have endured. However, tort law involving harbor worker accidents can be complicated.
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers at (888) 424-5757 fight aggressively for our clients to ensure they receive adequate recompense to cover their losses including medical bills, lost wages, temporary or permanent disability, vocational retraining, pain and suffering. Our lawyers are committed to obtaining every benefit entitled to you for the injuries you suffer. We understand the complexities of maritime laws and can evaluate your case in a free initial consultation. As your legal representative, our attorneys will investigate your claim to see if any third parties are also at fault for your injuries.