Longshoreman Rights After a Maritime Injury
Being employed as a longshoreman or harbor worker is difficult and dangerous work. Longshoremen often work with very heavy cargo, dangerous equipment, and hazardous materials, and injuries resulting from accidents frequently cause employees to miss work during their recovery period. When workers have been injured on a pier, wharf, dry dock, or shipping terminal, they qualify for benefits under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA).
Qualifying Under the LHWCA
The LHWCA is designed to provide compensation to anyone employed in a traditional maritime occupation. These individuals, known as longshoremen, are workers involved in the process of tying up, loading, unloading, or casting off a ship. These workers include shipbuilders, harbor workers, ship repairmen, and shipbreakers.
Workers who qualify under the LHWCA are entitled to:
- Lost wages. Workers who miss work as a result of their injuries are entitled to receive temporary disability benefits equal to 66 ⅔ percent of their average weekly income. In the event of a worker’s death, his surviving spouse and children may receive between 50 percent and 66⅔ percent of his wages.
- Medical costs. Injured workers may receive reimbursement for medical expenses and vocational rehabilitation services. Employees are entitled to seek medical care and treatment from a qualified physician of their own choosing.
The Longshore Act requires an injured employee to report a work-related injury to his employer and to the federal Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs within 30 days of the injury. There are two exceptions, however. First, if the injury does not result in immediate disability, the worker must report his injury within 30 days after he becomes aware that it has caused a disability or lost time from work. Secondly, in the event of an occupational illness, the employee must report the injury within one year after he becomes aware that his occupational disease has resulted in a disability.
If you’ve been injured while you were employed as a longshoreman or harbor worker, you deserve compensation. To discuss your claim, contact the law offices of Steve M. Lee, P.C., by using the form on this page.