Rights for Injured Longshoremen and Harbor Workers
Work as a longshoreman or harbor worker can be strenuous and often times dangerous. Injuries frequently occur, which can cause the worker to take time away from his or her job to recover.
There is a law that protects workers who have been injured on a pier, wharf, dry dock or shipping terminal – it is known as the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA). This law was originally enacted in 1927 to provide benefits to longshoremen who work upon navigable waters in the United States. It was amended decades later, in 1984, to give all longshoremen and harbor workers the same amount of legal protection.
Workers who are eligible for compensation under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act include longshoremen, harbor workers, ship repairmen, shipbuilders and ship breakers. The law is designed to provide protection for anyone who has a traditional relationship to maritime employment. Eligible employees may include those who load or unload vessels, construct ships, repair ships and other vessels, work in the harbor or perform general maritime construction duties.
The U.S. Department of Labor governs this law to ensure that injured workers receive compensation for their injuries. Under the LHWCA, an injured longshoreman, harbor worker or other qualifying employee is entitled to receive medical care and income benefits. Benefits generally cover lost wages, medical expenses and rehabilitation services. One of the great advantages for injured workers under this law is that they are able to choose their own physicians.
Sometimes an injury sustained on a dock or other location is so severe that the worker is unable to return to his or her job. If this happens, the injured harbor worker or other employee may be able to obtain temporary disability benefits which would be equivalent to 66 2/3 percent of the worker’s average weekly salary at the time of the injury. Temporary benefits are typically paid every two weeks.
There is a deadline to apply for compensation under the LHWCA, which is one year from the accident that caused the injury. The injury claim must be filed with the U.S. Department of Labor.
If you are a longshoreman, harbor worker or other maritime employee who has been injured due to negligence, you may be entitled to further compensation. Contact Attorney Steve Lee, an experienced maritime lawyer located in Houston, Texas, at 800-232-3711 or 713-921-4171 to review your maritime case.