If you’ve been injured while working in a traditional maritime job such as longshore workers, harbor construction, or ship building or dismantling, you are protected by a federal law, the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA). Under the LHWCA, if you’re disabled while working in navigable United States waters or in adjoining areas used to load, unload, repair, or build vessels, you are entitled to compensation, medical care, and vocational rehabilitation. The LHWCA does not apply to seamen, such as masters or crew members of a vessel – they are protected under the Jones Act.
Longshore and harbor work is difficult and can be dangerous, and the LHWCA was implemented by the US Department of Labor to help seriously injured maritime workers. Types of accidents that could fall under the LHWCA include:
- Slip and fall accidents
- Accidents while handling materials
- Equipment, machinery, or vehicle accidents
- Fires or explosions
- Drowning or near drowning accidents
- Exposure to chemicals or other hazardous materials
In addition to these types of incidents, the LHWCA also covers strain or repetitive motion injuries, which are common to maritime employees and may injure the back, knees, wrists, neck, shoulders or hands.What does the LHWCA cover?
In addition to covering medical treatment, the LHWCA allows an injured maritime worker to receive disability compensation of two-thirds his or her weekly salary while recovering from the injury. If the longshoreman is permanently disabled, the impairment is evaluated through a medical examination and the percentage of impairment is used in a calculation to set appropriate compensation. If a work-related accident causes the death of a longshoreman, his or her eligible survivors may be able to receive compensation for expenses and lost wages.
Often, employees don’t want to risk getting their employers into trouble, but the right to receive benefits under the LHWCA does not depend on finding the employer at fault. In addition to providing those benefits, the LHWCA also allows injured maritime employees to bring third-party claims against negligent people or companies other than your employer, such as contractors or manufacturers, if your injuries are the result of their negligence.
If you have a maritime employment injury, contact us today
If you are injured while working in a maritime position, you should notify your supervisor and seek treatment as soon as possible. Remember that you are entitled to select your own physician, and you do not need to go to a doctor chosen by your employer. This is important, because once you seek treatment, you will have to continue to see that doctor unless your employer or your employer’s insurance company agrees to allow you to change doctors.
You will need to give written notice of your injury to your employer within 30 days of the accident or within 30 days of realizing that you have an injury or disability related to your employment. You’ll also need to notify the Longshore District Office.
Filing a LHWCA claim is complex, with complicated procedural rules and time limits. It’s also important to gather evidence such as photographs and witness statements. That’s why you need an experienced attorney to protect your rights and help you get the compensation you deserve.
The worker’s compensation attorneys at Friedman Rodman Frank & Estrada, P.A. can help you receive full compensation from your employer and/or the party responsible for your injuries. Our team will work with industry-leading experts to help you get professional evaluations of the accident and your injuries, to ensure your rights are protected. If you’ve been injured and need to make a LHWCA claim, complete our on-line contact form, or call one of our Miami longshore worker injury attorneys today at 877-448-8585 or 305-448-8585 for a free, no obligation evaluation of your claim. We serve clients across South Florida, with office locations in Miami-Dade, Homestead, and Naples, and consultations are available in Spanish and Creole.