Dock work has long held the reputation of a dangerous profession. Longshore and harbor workers are injured or killed in accidents every year. From hazardous cargo to extreme weather, the risks facing these workers can lead to permanent injuries. When these injuries occur, an experienced injury lawyer might be able to help a hurt worker recover compensation.
If you or a loved one suffered an injury on the harbor or at sea, you might have a viable claim under federal law. A Jackson County longshore and harbor workers accidents lawyer could review your accident and help you build a case. Speak to a knowledgeable maritime injury attorney to learn about your legal rights and options.
The federal law that provides for recovering compensation for longshore or harbor injuries is known as the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA). The Act is similar to the workers’ compensation systems most states use.
The LHWCA provides for compensation for a patchwork of professions, both on the docks and at sea. The workers most frequently involved in these claims include:
The LHWCA does cover some workers on navigable waters as well. However, there is an important distinction to make that determines who is eligible to file a claim. Only workers on a vessel that are not essential for operating the shop are covered. Other federal laws, including the Jones Act, provide the potential for monetary recovery for seamen and other workers essential to operating a vessel.
An experienced Jackson County attorney experienced with representing longshore and harbor worker injury claims might be able to help a worker determine if the Act covers them.
Oversight of all federal workers’ compensation programs, including the LHWCA, falls to the United States Department of Labor. Within the Department, all compensation programs operate under the guidance of the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs, or OWCP. The division responsible for the LHWCA specifically is the Division of Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation.
To file a claim under the LHWCA, an injured worker must first notify their employer and their insurance carrier of the injury. The employer will then have the opportunity to deny the claim. If they do not object, the worker will begin receiving temporary injury payments in a matter of weeks. If they object, however, the process becomes more complicated.
Following a denial, the worker is entitled to request a hearing in front of an administrative law judge. The hearing essentially serves as a trial, where both sides make their case on whether an award is warranted or not. Following the hearing, the judge will determine whether compensation is appropriate or if the employer’s denial was reasonable.
Speak to an experienced Jackson County longshore and harbor workers accidents attorney to learn about the process for filing a claim.
If you believe you are entitled to compensation under the LHWCA, you have the right to seek help from a skilled legal professional. The claims process is complex, and even a seemingly minor error can be fatal for your claim.
You deserve legal counsel that will vigorously fight for your legal rights. To move your claim forward, contact a Jackson County longshore and harbor workers accidents lawyer right away.