Finding the right job is no easy task. For people who are looking to make a good living, working at sea is a great option. While most of the jobs at sea will keep you gone from home from a few weeks to a month, they pay very well. There are a number of Jones Act maritime law provisions in place to protect seamen and mariners in the event they become injured onboard a vessel. One of the most important Jones Act maritime law programs meant to protect seamen is the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act. Below are some of the things you need to know about the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act (the Longshore Act).
What protection is provided under the Longshore Act?
If you were injured while working on a fixed platform or near navigable waters, the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act is a law that may be able to help you get compensation for your injuries. This law gives injured maritime workers the right to bring a claim against the employer to receive appropriate compensation.
Simply put, this Act was passed in order to offer seamen hurt on the job compensation while they recover. Used by many firms, this act guarantees hurt workers compensation for the injuries they sustain. When a seaman is unable to go back to work following an injury at sea, this law says they need to be given disability benefits. The amount of compensation and disability allotted to a seaman will depend solely on the severity of their injuries. In order to find out how much compensation you are entitled to, you will need to contact a attorney for help. They will be able to advise you on what your best course of action is and will help you file a claim if needed.
Who is entitled to the benefits under the Longshore Act?
Another common question people have regarding this law is who is entitled to the benefits it provides. People who contribute to the maintenance, construction, or loading and unloading of a seafaring vessel are usually entitled to these benefits.
Some of the jobs at sea that have the most injuries associated with them:
- Winch operator
- Hold men
- Dock men
- Forklift operators
- Pile driver
- Workers on construction piers
- Ship repairmen
The Longshore Act covers many different types of workers on the waterfront who have been injured in an accident. There are countless other workers on the waterfront who are covered by the Longshore Act. If you are wondering if the Longshore Act applies to you, please call Cueria Law Firm. It is important to call as soon as possible, as the law puts certain time restraints on filing your claim.
What benefits are provided under the Longshore Act?
The Longshore Act provides compensation and medical benefits to injured workers. However, the number of benefits will depend on your injury. The Longshore Act divides an injured worker’s injury into one of two categories—scheduled and non-scheduled.
- Scheduled Injuries: Scheduled injuries are generally considered less serious, and will have a set payment amount based upon a schedule of payments. Common Scheduled Injuries include injuries to your legs, arms, hands, feet, or fingers.
- Non-Scheduled Injuries: Non-scheduled injuries have a much more generous compensation policy, guaranteeing two-thirds of the worker’s average weekly wage for life, or until they can return to work in full or partial capacity. Non-scheduled injuries include injuries to the neck, back, or shoulders.
There can be severe shortcomings in being compensated for a scheduled injury. For instance, a worker who suffered a total loss of a leg while working will only receive an amount equal to 288 weeks of his average weekly wage, as it falls under the category of a scheduled injury. If this worker is unable to return to work, or can only work light duty after the injury, they will receive no further benefits beyond their final compensation pay. Therefore, it is wise to seek the counsel of a Louisiana maritime attorney who has experience with Longshore Act injury cases.
What injuries and illnesses are covered under the Longshore Act?
The following are just some of the most common injuries that this law covers:
- Disease and infection resulting from injuries at sea
- Physical injuries caused by an accident
- Injuries caused by unsafe work conditions
- Aggravation of pre-existing injury due to less than stellar work conditions
Were other parties responsible for your injury?
Sometimes, an injured longshore worker may have a claim against a party other than their employer (called a third party) that caused or contributed to their accident and injury. In those circumstances, the injured worker may want to make a case against the party responsible. This type of lawsuit can provide compensation for pain and suffering, loss of past and future earnings, and medical expenses.
Occasionally, an injured employee can file a lawsuit against his employer if the employee’s accident occurred on a vessel owned or operated by the employer. In that instance, pain and suffering damages would be allowed.
Can the Jones Act or Longshore Act be applied to your injury case?
At times, Jones Act and Longshore claims often overlap and can be challenging to determine which law applies. In most cases, it is more favorable for an employee to pursue a claim under the Jones Act. Under the Jones Act, the employee can sue his employer and any third parties who may have caused or contributed to his accident and injury. Jones Act seamen are afforded special protection and are considered “wards of the court.” Additionally, they are entitled to medical treatment at the expense of the employer or vessel operator/owner until reaching the point of maximum medical improvement (when they can get no better).
Our firm has handled Longshore and Jones Act cases across the nation. In several instances, we have substantially improved the amount of compensation for injured workers by legally applying the Jones Act law to a claim instead of the Longshore Act. The application of these laws to the facts of each case can be complicated. We fight longshore and maritime claims for injured workers every day and would be happy to speak with you regarding your injury case.