Have you have been injured or contracted a disease while working in the United States’ navigable waters? If so, then you may be looking for something like maritime worker’s compensation. The good news is that this type of compensation does exist. More news is that it could very well be the answer for you. This provision is called longshore harbor workers compensation and is provided by The Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act. This act covers half a million longshore workers.
If you are not certain of whether you can qualify for this compensation, because you are a civilian working on a military base and therefore are not in the navigable waters of the United States, you still can be covered under what is called the Jones Act. The Defense Base Act, more commonly called the Jones Act protects civilians at work on U.S. military bases. Jones act workers compensation entitles workers to many of the same benefits as given by longshore harbor workers compensation. Both LHWCA and DBA apply to all workers regardless of citizenship status.
Longshore harbor workers compensation entitles employees at sea to speedy medical care and benefits. However delays associated with these two aspects are the most common reasons workers are forced to find legal consultation.
Just as there are worker’s compensation attorneys there are also longshore harbor workers compensation lawyers. LHWCA and DBA attorneys can get you the results you need, when you need them most. These lawyers can consult you on whether you have a claim or not, and what benefits you can be entitled to as a result.
Some of the biggest negatives of DBA and longshore harbor workers compensation include the length of time it takes to get a trial date and a judgment from the Court. In certain rare instances this time can run so long as a year after the initial claim is filed. A wait period this long can place incredible financial pressure on injured workers. This pressure is compounded if the workers have not received any compensation benefits from the insurance company. During this waiting period, insurance companies can stop or start benefits at will, because only a court can order the provision of past due benefits.
Insurance companies can further exacerbate the process of claiming benefits by tracing the cause of an injury. Oftentimes injuries at sea are not reported in a timely manner or can not be reported until the worker has returned home. The best way to curtail this uncertainty is to keep a paper trail, documenting your injury, exactly when it happened, how and where. Timely reporting to the proper employing authorities can also help this process.
Under DBA and longshore harbor workers compensation claims ensure that workers have their day in court. If you have been injured and have not received benefits for your injury turning to a lawyer can be the best option for you. When looking for an attorney, make sure the one you chose has no issue with going to court. Often times insurance companies will use the time you have spent suffering the effects of a reduced income as leverage for negotiating a settlement out of court that pays less that would a decision in court. If you believe you have a case, then be certain that you have a lawyer who can win it for you.