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Pasadena Longshore and Harbor Workers Accident Lawyer

If you work around ships—loading and unloading, building, repairing, or transporting shipping containers—you have one of the most dangerous jobs in the country. Docks and harbors are busy places with many activities going on simultaneously. The workplace is full of cranes, trucks, and other heavy equipment and the outdoor conditions can be harsh.

If you get injured on the job, a federal program will pay for your medical care, a partial wage while you recover, and disability benefits. Unfortunately, sometimes eligible workers might not know the benefits are available or have trouble accessing them.

Consulting a maritime accident attorney can be helpful in avoiding delays in getting your payments. A Pasadena longshore and harbor workers accident lawyer could guide you through the claims process and investigate other possible sources of compensation.

Understanding the LHWCA

The federal government established a workers’ compensation program for dock workers to ensure that the people who keep the ports running receive consistent benefits regardless of the state they live in. The program is the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act (LHWCA). All maritime employers must participate in the program and covered workers may not sue their employer for injuries they suffer on the job.

Who is Covered?

The program is open to workers who are based on land, perform duties related to the shipping industry, and whose jobs involve tasks including ship building and repair, loading and unloading cargo, and transporting cargo on the docks. Stevedores, longshoremen, ship builders, vessel repair personnel, truck drivers, and transport truck mechanics typically qualify for benefits if their work takes place adjacent to navigable water. Courts have held that “adjacent” means within one mile of navigable water for LWHCA purposes.

The LWHCA specifically excludes some workers from benefits. People who cannot claim for injuries under this law include clerical workers, retail workers, captains and ship crews, and people who build or repair recreational vessels less than 65 feet long.

What Benefits Does the LHWCA Provide?

The program offers free medical care for work-related injuries. The worker may seek treatment from the provider of their choice who is willing to accept LHWCA patients. The program reimburses the costs of transportation to medical appointments. If the injury causes the worker to miss time at work, LHCWA pays two-thirds of their average weekly wage until the worker can resume the job they had prior to the injury.

If the injury leads to permanent partial or total disability, the LHWCA provides disability payments. Additional payments could be available for lost use of a body part or amputation. If a worker’s injury prevents them from resuming their job, the program pays for job retraining.

When an injury leads to the worker’s death, the program pays $3,000 toward funeral expenses and at least 50 percent and up to two-thirds of the worker’s wage if they left a spouse or children. The payments to the spouse continue until the spouse dies or remarries, and the children receive payments until they turn 18 or 23 if they are enrolled in school. Some disabled children could receive benefits indefinitely.

What is the Claims Process?

The worker must inform the employer of an injury within 30 days. If the injury is a condition that developed over time, the worker must inform the employer within 30 days of its discovery. The worker then has one year to file a claim with LHWCA, although filing as quickly as possible is recommended to avoid delays. The employer then has 14 days to dispute the claim.

A Pasadena attorney could assist a longshore or harbor worker in filing the claim and handling any resistance from the employer. If the LHWCA insurer denies a claim, a lawyer could provide representation at conferences and hearings.

Third-Party Claims

A worker with LHWCA coverage cannot sue their employer seeking compensation for work-related injuries. However, many such injuries occur because of the actions of someone other than the employer. Harbors and docks usually have workers from many employers sharing the same space, so situations where another party’s actions cause an injury occur frequently.

According to 33 United States Code § 933, a worker injured by the negligence of another company’s employee could bring a third-party claim for damages. Third-party claims are also possible if an injury resulted from defective or malfunctioning machinery or equipment. A Pasadena attorney could review the circumstances leading to the LHWCA injury to determine whether a third-party claim is possible.

If so, the injured worker must prove that the party’s negligence was a direct cause of their injury. The negligent party would be liable for the lost income not covered by LHWCA and the worker’s pain and suffering.

Consult a Pasadena LHWCA Attorney When You Get Injured at Work

You deserve compensation if you were hurt while working on the docks. You should not have to struggle to get the benefits you earned. A Pasadena longshore and harbor workers accident lawyer understands the challenges of this type of claim and can represent you in a third-party claim. Call us today.

SMS Legal

SMS Legal N/a
3222 Burke
Rd #211

Pasadena, TX 77504
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(832) 345-1327