Workers whose jobs require them to work on navigable waters or in areas close to them — such as ports and stations for boats, barges, and ferries — receive special protections from work-related diseases and injuries under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act. The workplace accident attorneys at Ginarte Gonzalez Winograd L.L.P., understand how a work-related boat, barge or ferry injury can impact a worker and his or her family, and we are here to help.
If you have been injured in a New York or New Jersey boating, barge, port, harbor, or ferry accident while working, or you have lost a loved one as the result of one of these types of accidents, you could be entitled to compensation for your injuries or your loss. At the Ginarte law firm, we make sure that workers who fall under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act protection recover for their injuries. If you have been injured in the course of your employment that requires you to work on or near areas close to navigable waters, please contact us for immediate attention at 1-888-GINARTE (1-888-446-2783), fill out our online contact form, or visit one of our eight nearby offices in Manhattan, Queens, Newark, Union City, Elizabeth, Clifton, Perth Amboy or New Brunswick today. Remember, there is no charge to talk with our accident lawyers, and we collect fees only if you win your case!
What Is the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act?
Not all injuries fall within the purview of a state-administered workers’ compensation system. Some work injuries are covered under federal workers’ compensation laws. The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) is an example of one of those laws. The LHWCA covers approximately 500,000 workers who make a living working on the navigable waters of the United States, or in areas that adjoin water, such as docks or areas where vessels are repaired or built (dry docks and shipyards).
The LHWCA covers longshore and harbor workers as well as ship builders, ship breakers, and ship repairers. Certain workers are excluded from benefits under the LHWCA, such as masters or crew members and anyone who is an officer or employee of the United States or of a foreign government.
What Benefits Are Available Under the LHWCA?
Although the LHWCA is authorized under federal law and administered by the federal government, the benefits available to an injured worker are much the same as those available to an injured worker under most state workers’ compensation systems. When a worker is hurt on the job, the employee must report the injury to the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs, or OWCP, by completing the Employer’s First Report of Injury or Occupational Illness. The claim will then be reviewed and, if approved, the injured worker will be eligible for benefits.
Medical bills associated with the injury will be covered by the program, and the worker will be eligible for wage replacement at the rate of 2/3 of the worker’s average weekly wage prior to the injury. If the worker suffers a permanent injury or illness, he or she may be entitled to additional benefits. In the event that a worker suffers a fatal injury or illness, a surviving spouse and any minor children may also be entitled to benefits.
Why Would an LHWCA Claim Be Denied?
Getting a claim for benefits under the LHWCA approved can be a long and complicated process. Claims can be denied for a number of reasons with the most common being:
- Technical — For a claim to be approved, the proper forms must be filled out correctly and filed within the proper time frames. An error on a form, or failure to file a form within the time frame allowable, can result in a denial of benefits.
- Supporting evidence — A claim can be denied, because supporting evidence was requested and not provided. Sometimes, the evidence a claimant needs is actually in the hands of an employer, which can present a problem if the employer is not cooperating.
- Not within scope of employment — For an injury or illness to be compensable, it must have occurred “within the scope of employment.” If an employer claims that the employee was not “within the scope of employment” at the time the injury or illness occurred, then the claim could be denied.
- Pre-existing injury or illness — An employer may claim that the injury, or illness is a pre-existing injury, or illness, meaning that the worker did not sustain the injury or contract the illness as a result of his or her employment.
When a claim is denied, the worker has the right to dispute the decision. The LHWCA provides for informal mediation of disputed claims; however, a worker stands to lose a considerable amount of much-needed income if the dispute is not resolved through mediation. For this reason, a worker should consult with an experienced attorney, who is familiar with LHWCA rules and procedures prior to the scheduled mediation.
The New York and New Jersey LHWCA lawyers at the Ginarte law firm understand the rules and procedures that relate to filing a claim under the LHWCA. If you believe that you have suffered a compensable work-related injury, or illness you should consult with our experienced attorneys as soon as possible. Not only can we help you file a claim properly the first time, we may also be able to help you even if your claim has already been denied.
With over 150 years of combined experience, we are dedicated to protecting the rights of our clients in New York and New Jersey. Just call 1-888-GINARTE (1-888-446-2783), fill out our online contact form, or visit one of Ginarte’s seven offices in the NY / NJ metro area today. Remember, we receive compensation only if you win your case!