If you are a longshore worker who has been injured in an on-the-job accident, as soon as you have been examined and/or treated by a medical professional, schedule a meeting as quickly as possible to discuss your rights with a Houston maritime injury attorney.

Every longshore worker who has been injured in a work-related accident deserves sound legal advice and effective legal representation. If you are injured on the job as a longshore worker, what are your rights? What steps will you need to take?

Keep reading this brief discussion of the rights of injured longshore workers, and these questions will be answered. You’ll also learn how a Houston maritime injury lawyer will fight for the compensation – and for the justice – that an injured longshore worker needs and deserves.

Does the Law Provide Workers’ Compensation Benefits to Longshore Workers?

The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) is a federal law that provides workers’ compensation coverage to longshore workers and others who work on or near the water but who are not seamen – that is, maritime workers who are not the members of a vessel’s crew.

Workers’ compensation coverage under the LHWCA partially replaces an injured longshore worker’s wages, pays for reasonable medical care, and if necessary, for vocational rehabilitation.

Federal law requires injured longshore workers to report on-the-job injuries to employers within seven days. Don’t wait that long. The law also requires injured longshore workers to report job-related injuries within thirty days to the federal Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs.

An employer’s accident report form may ask you to explain how an accident happened and who was responsible. If you’re uncomfortable stating that your employer was at fault, simply write that you’re not sure. Then, contact a Houston maritime injury attorney as quickly as possible.

Can Your Employer Retaliate If You Seek Workers’ Compensation Benefits?

Some injured longshore workers may not exercise their rights because they fear reprisals by an employer. A longshore worker may be concerned that by taking legal action, he or she may be labeled a troublemaker, end up on a blacklist, and be unable to work in the maritime industry.

Injured longshore workers should know that it is illegal for an employer to pursue disciplinary or retaliatory action against a longshore worker for filing a workers’ compensation claim. Some employers rely on the fear of a blacklist to keep longshore workers from filing those claims.

How Do Some Employers Retaliate Against Injured Longshore Workers?

There is probably no actual “blacklist” shared by the maritime industry’s employers, but if you seek workers’ compensation benefits, an employer may retaliate by trying to ruin your reputation and making it difficult for you to find another job as a longshore worker.

Retaliation tactics by an employer may include demotion, termination, or subjection to a hostile work environment – all because you are seeking the workers’ compensation benefits that are rightfully yours.

Provided that you are telling the truth, you should file your injury claim with the confidence and expectation that you will recover the compensation that you need and are entitled to by federal law. If you experience any kind of employer retaliation, tell your maritime injury lawyer at once.

What Is the Workers’ Compensation Process for Longshore Workers?

An injured longshore worker who brings an injury claim under the LHWCA must select a doctor from a list of approved medical providers or seek permission from his or her employer – or from a judge – to be seen by a physician who isn’t on the list.

The doctor’s findings regarding your injury can determine whether you receive workers’ compensation benefits, when you may return to work, and what continuing medical care you may need.

If you are not in agreement with the doctor’s findings, take your concerns to a Texas maritime injury lawyer who will discuss your rights and options and recommend the best way to move forward with legal action.

What Else Will a Maritime Injury Attorney Do on Your Behalf?

If you are a longshore worker and a victim of employer retaliation because you have filed a workers’ compensation claim, and if you have evidence or proof of that retaliation, your attorney can pursue a claim against the employer that could provide you with back wages, compensation for defamation, reinstatement to your former position, and other damages.

Even if you are not a victim of employer retaliation, if you are a longshore worker who has been injured on-the-job, a Houston maritime injury lawyer may be able to secure for you:

The compensation you are entitled to by law: You have the right to compensation for your injury-related medical costs, lost wages, and any other out-of-pocket costs linked to your accident and injury.

Disability compensation: A catastrophic injury may be the cause of permanent disability. A workers’ compensation claim may provide long-term benefits if you are not able to continue working.

Better conditions: By holding an employer liable for hazardous conditions, defective equipment, or inadequate training, you can help to prevent employer negligence and employee injuries in the future.

What Else Should Longshore Workers Know?

Do not let the fear of retaliation prevent you from seeking workers’ compensation benefits if you have been injured on-the-job as a longshore worker.

The law protects longshore workers from being blacklisted, and the courts have ruled in several cases that blacklisting longshore workers is illegal.

Furthermore, when you are asked for a reference by a prospective employer, a past employer is not allowed by law to discuss your injury claim or even that you filed an injury claim.

When Should You Contact a Texas Maritime Injury Lawyer?

As a longshore worker, as soon as you’ve been examined and/or treated for an on-the-job injury, contact a Texas maritime injury attorney. It’s best to have sound legal advice and guidance from the very beginning of the personal injury process.

Your maritime injury attorney can ensure that you meet the deadlines, that your workers’ compensation application is accurate and complete, and that your benefits are not delayed because there was a mistake or a misunderstanding on your end.

For an injured longshore worker, your first meeting with an injury attorney is provided without cost or obligation. Take advantage of the opportunity to receive personalized, detailed legal advice and to learn how the law will apply in your own case.

Injury cases that involve longshore workers should be handled only by an attorney with considerable maritime legal training and experience. If you’ve been injured, if your claim is disputed, or if you have been targeted by your employer for retaliation, make the call immediately to a Texas maritime injury attorney.