Dock Workers, Heavy Machinery Injuries, and the LHWCA
Heavy machinery is often found at shipyards, piers, and loading docks. Workers who routinely use this equipment are at serious risk of injury.
Dock Worker Injuries
Injuries sustained by dock workers due to heavy machinery, such as forklifts, cranes, and trucks, often require long recovery periods and lead to significant medical expenses. These injuries frequently interrupt employment, and can lead to temporary or permanent physical limitations. Common dock worker injuries include:
- Back or spinal cord damage
- Torn ligaments
- Crushed or amputated limbs
- Traumatic brain injuries
Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Dock workers are not covered by typical state-run workers’ compensation programs. Instead, the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) governs workers’ compensation for injuries sustained during employment on navigable waters and piers in the United States. Workers covered under the LHWCA are entitled to:
- Disability benefits equal to a percentage of average weekly wages. If the injury is classified as temporary or permanent total disability, the worker will receive two-thirds of his weekly wages earned prior to the injury. If he is temporarily partially disabled, he will receive two-thirds of his weekly lost income.
- Medical, surgical, and hospital treatment. This includes diagnostic tests, physical therapy, prescription medications, and the cost of travel to receive medical care. An injured worker is entitled to choose the physician he prefers when receiving medical treatment.
- Death benefits when workers are killed on the job. The worker’s surviving spouse and dependents are entitled to receive 50 percent of his average weekly wage for life, or until the spouse remarries. Survivors may also receive up to $3,000 in funeral expenses.
Laws governing equipment-related injuries sustained by dock workers are complex, and the legislation that applies to your situation will depend upon your unique circumstances. If you’ve been injured by heavy machinery, you need professional representation by an attorney experienced in these types of claims. To learn more about what the law offices of Steve M. Lee, P.C., can do for you, visit us on Facebook.