Brewster Law Firm LLC

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Recovering lost wages after getting hurt at your harbor job

On Behalf of | Feb 20, 2023 | Longshore And Harbor Workers' Compensation Act |

Harbor work can be very demanding. You may have to put in exceptionally long hours on the job, even when the weather is terrible. There is constant demand, meaning that workers often have to do their jobs even on weekends and holidays.

As if the pressure of a demanding schedule weren’t bad enough, the risk of injury is constantly present. Workers can fall into the water, suffering a near drowning or sickening themselves. They can get hurt by heavy machinery or struck by a forklift helping load cargo. Any work-related incidents may leave a harbor worker unable to return to work for weeks, if not longer. If you’ve recently been hurt, it’s important to understand how to recover lost wages while you’re healing from your injuries.

You may need to make a claim under federal law

Standard workers’ compensation benefits do not apply to those working on the open ocean or at the harbors that help service the fleets traveling the oceans and the navigable waterways of the United States. Workers in such environments will not be able to make a basic insurance claim but will instead likely need to pursue a federal claim.

The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) is an important piece of federal legislation that protects those working in shipyards and harbors around the United States. The LHWCA helps to protect these employees who serve in high-risk professions and don’t have access to standard workers’ compensation benefits managed by individual states.

The LHWCA allows injured workers to potentially receive up to two-thirds of their lost wages until they can return to their job or qualify for retirement benefits. In some ways, that does make the LHWCA more beneficial than standard workers’ compensation benefits, which may be subject to a maximum benefit amount.

Those in higher-earning professions often note a significant gap between what the state would pay in benefits and their actual wages. Longshore and harbor workers injured on the job and able to bring a claim under the LHWCA may receive the full two-thirds of their lost wages, which can be much better compensation than a limited amount based on the average wage within the state.

LHWCA claims require professional help

The average worker with a sizable injury claim related to their employment would probably benefit from bringing in professional help as they negotiate their benefits. Those who must make use of the LHWCA rules are at increased risk of mistakes and oversights complicating their claims due to the complexities of the process.

They will very likely require professional help so that they can maximize the benefits that they receive without spending all of their time and energy trying to learn about complicated federal workers’ compensation rules. Understanding the basic right to pursue disability benefits to replace lost wages may inspire people to get the help they need to make a compensation claim as an injured harbor worker.