Longshore Act Claims
The Federal Workers compensation statute named The Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act enables workers working on fixed platforms over navigable waters as well as on or near waters to present claims against their employer. Benefits may apply if a person is injured while working on a fixed platform, at a dock, or even on land that is near water in some cases. This Act provides for compensation and medical benefits to injured workers. The amount of compensation benefits will depend upon the extent of the injury. Injuries to the back, neck or shoulder may allow for a substantial payment because they are not “scheduled injuries.” Other injuries are considered “scheduled injuries” and will have a set payment amount based upon a schedule of payments.
On many occasions, employers will pay an employee based upon the State Compensation Schedule rather than the Federal Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation rate. Our Louisiana Maritime Injury Law Firm is experienced in applying the most favorable compensation scheme to the injured employee. In almost all instances, the Federal Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Scheme will be the more generous plan.
Injured Longshore employees may sometimes have a claim against parties other than their employer that caused or contributed to their accident and injury. In those circumstances, a lawsuit can be filed against the negligent parties and the employee is able to seek full recovery from these parties for pain and suffering, loss of past and future earnings, past and future medical expenses and all other damages provided under general tort law. The investigation of third party claims is essential to properly protecting the interests of the injured Longshore employee in order to maximize recovery rights under the law. This is important because under the Federal Compensation Scheme, there are no benefits for pain and suffering. Occasionally, the employee can sometimes file a lawsuit against his employer if that employer owned or operated any vessel where the employee’s accident may have occurred. In that instance, Pain and Suffering damages would be allowed as in a third party claim.
Finally, Jones Act claims and Longshore claims often overlap and can be difficult to determine which law applies. In most cases, it is more favorable for an employee to pursue a claim under the Jones Act if there is a question of which law will apply. Under the Jones Act the employee is able to sue his employer and any third parties who may have caused or contributed to his accident and injury. As discussed earlier, Jones Act Seamen are afforded special protection and are considered “wards of the court”. Additionally, without regard to fault, they are also entitled to maintenance and cure (medical treatment) at the cost of the employer or vessel operator/owner until reaching the point of maximum medical improvement (when they can get no better).
Our National Maritime Law Firm has handled many cases in which we were able to substantially improve the recovery for the injured worker because we were able to apply the Jones Act to situations that could have been resolved for substantially lesser amounts under the compensation scheme. The application of these laws to the facts of each case can be complicated. We handle Longshore and Maritime claims on a regular basis and will be able to discuss your rights depending upon the facts of your accident.