Whether you work aboard a maritime vessel or in service of one and are based on shore, the duties you perform as part of your job likely put you in harm’s way much more often than other workers. Heavy machinery, unwieldy cargo loads, specialized tools, and slipping and tripping hazards all have the potential to cause serious injury to longshore workers. This might leave you with extensive medical bills and without any source of income to pay for them.
Fortunately, the federal government has established protections for longshore and harbor workers that supersede state workers’ compensation and personal injury laws. Elissa M. Coombs, a skilled maritime injury attorney, can help you take advantage of these protections. If you were hurt in the course of your maritime employment, you should consider speaking with an Olive Branch longshore and harbor workers accident lawyer about your legal options.
The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act
Just like seamen who work on vessels in navigable waters, individuals who perform maritime work back on shore have a unique system governed by federal law for seeking compensation after workplace accidents. Instead of the Jones Act that applies to seamen, workers who get hurt on docks, in shipyards, on oil rigs, or on dry land while performing ship maintenance or construction work are covered by the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA).
Anyone whose work contributes directly to the operation of a maritime vessel may be able to file a claim under the LHWCA in the event of a workplace accident, including individuals who work exclusively on land, like forklift operators and ship breakers. However, those who only perform non-maritime tasks like security or clerical work are exempt from coverage under the LHWCA, as are workers who are covered by the Jones Act. An Olive Branch longshore and harbor workers accident attorney can clarify what filing options are available to you during a free consultation.
Filing an Injury Claim as a Longshore Worker
Any injury or illness that stems directly from maritime work may justify a Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act claim. This includes not just injuries from workplace accidents but also occupational injuries and illnesses that develop over time, aggravated pre-existing conditions, and the consequences of willfully malicious acts by third parties. For a claim to be valid, an injured worker must notify the U.S. Department of Labor and their employer in writing about their injury within 30 days of its occurrence or of the date the worker discovered that it stemmed from workplace conditions. This deadline can be extended to a maximum of one year for claims based on occupational diseases.
Through a successful LHWCA claim, an injured or ill longshore worker may be able to recover for all their associated medical expenses, as well as two-thirds of their average weekly wages for each week their condition keeps them out of work. This is subject to maximum limits under certain circumstances. An LHWCA lawyer in Olive Branch can help with the initial filing process and with maximizing available compensation.
Address Your Losses with an Olive Branch Longshore and Harbor Workers Accident Attorney
Seeking fair financial recovery after getting hurt on the job can be complicated under any circumstances, but it can be especially challenging for longshore and harbor workers covered under federal laws, rather than state laws. Fortunately, help is available from Elissa M. Coombs of the Law Office of David E. Gordon, who has handled similar cases before and knows how to pursue a positive outcome to yours.
A free consultation with an Olive Branch longshore and harbor workers accident lawyer can put you on track towards the financial security that you deserve. Call today to learn more.