Our Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Lawyer Can Help You

Longshoremen and harbor workers in California are involved in various maritime activities related to the loading, unloading, repair, and building of vessels in and around ports, harbors, and other navigable waters. If you or your loved one has been involved in any work-related accident while working on the docks in California, you are entitled to special benefits through the Office of Workers Compensation Program (OWCP) under the Federal Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act.

The work of longshoremen and harbor workers is critical to the functioning of ports and the broader maritime industry. The job of longshoremen and harbor workers in California involves various dangers and occupational hazards due to the nature of maritime activities and the equipment used.

Dangers Involved in the Job of Longshoremen and Harbor Workers in California

The job of longshoremen and harbor workers in California, like in many other parts of the world, involves inherent dangers due to the nature of maritime operations and the environment in which they work. Some of the key dangers involved in their job include:

  • Heavy Machinery and Equipment: Longshoremen and harbor workers operate heavy machinery and equipment such as cranes, forklifts, and container handlers. Accidents involving these machines can result in serious injuries or fatalities if proper safety procedures are not followed.
  • Cargo Handling Risks: Cargo handling poses significant risks, including the potential for crushing injuries, falls, and struck-by accidents. Longshoremen and harbor workers often work with large, heavy containers and goods, which can shift unexpectedly or fall if not properly secured.
  • Slips, Trips, and Falls: The maritime environment, including docks, piers, and vessels, can be slippery due to water, oil, or other substances. Slips, trips, and falls are common hazards that can lead to injuries, especially during adverse weather conditions.
  • Crushing and Pinch Points: Longshoremen and harbor workers face the risk of being caught in machinery, between containers, or in other pinch points while performing their duties. This can result in severe injuries, including amputations and crush injuries.
  • Falls from Heights: Working on ships, docks, and other elevated surfaces puts longshoremen and harbor workers at risk of falls from heights. Falls can occur from ladders, gangways, or unguarded edges, leading to serious injuries or fatalities.
  • Chemical and Hazardous Materials Exposure: Some cargoes may contain hazardous materials or chemicals that pose health risks to workers if proper precautions are not taken. Exposure to toxic substances can result in respiratory problems, skin irritation, or other health issues.
  • Weather and Environmental Conditions: Longshoremen and harbor workers often work outdoors and are exposed to various weather conditions, including extreme heat, cold, wind, and rain. These conditions can increase the risk of accidents and exacerbate existing hazards.
  • Fatigue and Shift Work: Shift work and long hours are common in the maritime industry, which can lead to fatigue and decreased alertness among workers. Fatigue increases the likelihood of accidents and injuries, especially during night shifts or extended work periods.
  • Crane and Rigging Failures: Cranes and rigging systems used for lifting and moving cargo can fail due to equipment malfunction, improper operation, or overloading. These failures can result in catastrophic accidents and pose serious risks to workers in the vicinity.
  • Underwater Hazards: Workers involved in diving operations, underwater welding, or other underwater tasks face additional risks, including decompression sickness, drowning, and injury from marine wildlife.

Given these dangers, longshoremen and harbor workers must undergo comprehensive safety training, adhere to established safety protocols, use appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), and remain vigilant while performing their duties. Employers also have a responsibility to provide a safe working environment and implement measures to mitigate risks associated with maritime operations.

Longshore and Harbor workers compensation lawyer
Longshore and Harbor workers compensation lawyer

Who Can Receive Longshoreman Workers Compensation Benefits?

Longshoreman workers’ compensation benefits are specifically designed to provide coverage for individuals working in occupations related to maritime activities. These benefits are governed by the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) in the United States. The LHWCA applies to injuries that occur on navigable waters, such as ports, harbors, piers, terminals, and other maritime locations. It also covers injuries that occur in areas adjoining these navigable waters if the injury is related to maritime employment.

Here’s who can receive Longshoreman workers’ compensation benefits:

Covered Employees

  • Longshore workers and other individuals engaged in maritime occupations, such as ship repairers, shipbuilders, harbor construction workers, and other maritime industry workers.
  • Employees working on navigable waters of the United States or in adjoining areas used in loading, unloading, repairing, or building a vessel.

Excluded Employees

  • Seamen covered under the Jones Act.
  • Individuals employed exclusively to perform office clerical, secretarial, security, or data processing work.
  • Individuals employed by a club, camp, recreational operation, restaurant, museum, or retail outlet.

Specific Criteria

  • Employees who meet the specific criteria outlined in the LHWCA and are injured while performing work-related duties in covered maritime occupations.

Injured Workers

  • Workers who sustain injuries or occupational diseases arising out of and in the course of their employment in covered maritime activities.

Compensation

  • Eligible individuals may receive compensation for medical treatment, disability benefits, vocational rehabilitation, and survivor benefits in the event of a work-related fatality.

Filing Process

  • Injured workers or their representatives must file a claim for Longshoreman workers’ compensation benefits with the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP) within the Department of Labor.

Similar to state workers’ compensation laws, the LHWCA provides an exclusive remedy for covered employees. Injured workers generally cannot sue their employers in a civil court for damages related to their workplace injuries. The specific eligibility criteria and benefits available under the LHWCA may vary, and individuals seeking Longshoreman workers’ compensation benefits should consult with an experienced workers compensation lawyer to understand their rights and navigate the claims process effectively.

Benefits Available to Longshore and Harbor Workers Under Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA)

Longshoremen and harbor workers are covered by the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA), a federal law that provides workers’ compensation benefits for injuries or occupational diseases that occur during the course of employment on navigable waters of the United States or in adjoining areas used in the loading, unloading, repair, or building of a vessel. The benefits available under LHWCA include:

  • Medical Benefits: Longshoremen and harbor workers are entitled to receive medical treatment for their work-related injuries or illnesses. This includes doctor visits, hospital stays, surgeries, medications, and other necessary medical services.
  • Disability Benefits: Disability benefits are provided to compensate workers for lost wages due to a temporary or permanent disability resulting from a work-related injury. There are two types of disability benefits under LHWCA:
    • Temporary Total Disability (TTD): Compensation for workers who are temporarily unable to work due to their injuries.
    • Permanent Total Disability (PTD): Compensation for workers who are permanently unable to return to their previous employment.
  • Vocational Rehabilitation:
  • Vocational rehabilitation services may be provided to help injured longshoremen and harbor workers return to suitable employment. This can include job retraining, education, or other assistance to enhance employability.
  • Death Benefits: If a work-related injury or illness results in the death of a longshoreman or harbor worker, death benefits may be provided to eligible dependents. These benefits typically include compensation for funeral expenses and weekly benefits for surviving dependents.
  • Compensation for Scarring and Disfigurement: In cases where work-related injuries result in scarring or disfigurement, additional compensation may be awarded to the injured worker.
  • Cost of Living Adjustments (COLAs): In certain cases, longshoremen and harbor workers who receive disability benefits may be eligible for cost of living adjustments to help offset increases in the cost of living over time.
  • Scheduled Awards: LHWCA provides for scheduled awards for specific injuries, such as loss of a limb or loss of vision. The amount of the scheduled award is determined based on a statutory schedule.

Injured workers may benefit from consulting with a workers cpmpensation attorney experienced in maritime and workers’ compensation law to navigate the claims process and ensure they receive the full benefits to which they are entitled.

A Longshoreman and Harbour Worker Compensation Lawyer Can Guide You Through the Claim!

Longshore claims can be complex, and employers and insurance companies seek ways to reduce, postpone, or reject payments. As your legal representative, we can assist you in navigating the intricate system of claims administration to ensure that you receive the necessary medical treatment and the benefits you are entitled to. Our workers compensation lawyer will aggressively seek the maximum amount of compensation you are entitled to receive.   

Get in touch with us to learn more about how our work comp lawyer can assist you in maximizing your longshore claim. We offer a complimentary case evaluation and can provide guidance on your legal options and rights.