Longshore Harbor Worker Claims
Most dock workers and stevedores who are injured on the job are covered by the Longshore Harbor Workers Compensation Act, 33 USC Sec. 901-950. Longshoremen, harbor workers, ship repairmen, shipbuilders, and ship-breakers are covered by the Act. The Act specifically does not provide coverage to the master or member of a crew, of any vessel, who are covered by the Jones Act. Employers covered by the Act are required to obtain Longshore Harbor Workers Insurance coverage for their employees.
The Longshore Harbor Workers Compensation Act is Federal legislation which provides wage loss compensation, rehabilitation services, and medical benefits to injured workers who are injured in the course of their employment while in navigable waters or the adjoining areas. You do not have to prove fault or negligence of your employer to collect compensation under the Longshore Harbor Workers Act. Injuries may include occupational diseases.Who Is Entitled To Compensation?
Generally workers entitled to compensation under the Longshore Harbor Workers Act are shore-side workers who are involved in loading and unloading of vessels, or in repair or construction of vessels. There is a one year's statute of limitations on Longshore Harbor Workers claims. A written claim must be filed within one year of the injury or the last payment of compensation for the injury. A worker covered by the Longshore Harbor Workers Compensation Act cannot bring a tort claim for negligence against his employer, but instead must rely upon the benefits provided by the Longshore Harbor Workers Act.How Are Damages Calculated?
Damages under the Longshore Harbor Workers Act are calculated based upon a worker's pre-injury average annual earnings over 52 weeks. In cases where an employee's injury prevents him from work, the injured worker should receive 66 2/3 % of his average weekly wage at the time of his injury. In 2006 the minimum weekly compensation was $278 per week, and the maximum was $1,114 per week. Benefits are paid every two weeks. An injured worker is entitled to pick his own physician under the Longshore Harbor Workers Act.What Types Of Claims Can I File?
The Longshore Harbor Workers Compensation Act, under proper circumstances, allows a worker to recover full tort damages from parties other than his employer, who injured the worker through negligence. The injured worker may also have product liability claims in addition to his Longshore Harbor Workers benefits. Claims against third parties are extremely important, as these claims in severe injury cases may provide compensation far in excess of those benefits provided by the Longshore Harbor Workers Compensation Act.
Under Section 905(b) of the Act, workers may sue the vessel operators who negligently cause their injury or death. Where a worker covered by the Longshore Harbor Workers Compensation Act is injured aboard a vessel owned by his employer, he may be entitled to pursue a negligence cause of action against the employer in some circumstances.We Can Help
Seattle-based law firm Stacey & Jacobsen, PLLC only become involved in Longshore Harbor Workers claims when there is a third party negligence involved, or when the employee is injured while working onboard a vessel. Litigating claims by longshoremen and stevedores against vessel operators can be extremely complex. The maritime attorneys of Stacey & Jacobsen, PLLC have handled many 905(b) and third party claims for injured longshoreman and harbor workers.
If there is a question about whether or not a worker is covered by the Longshore Harbor Workers Compensation Act or the Jones Act, or whether or not there is a claim for damages against a third party, please contact a qualified maritime lawyer at Stacey and Jacobsen. We can help.