Longshore and Harbor Workers Act
If you have been injured while working at a port or a shipyard, please contact us. We litigate maritime claims of injured Longshoreman worldwide.
Our maritime trial attorneys are skilled in the investigation and prosecution of Longshoremen’s injury and wrongful death claims. We are known for our responsiveness, thorough, and hands-on litigation style, investigative and negotiating skills, and our accessibility to our clients. We go wherever you need us to be.
The Longshore & Harbor Workers Act protects longshoremen, stevedores and dockworkers who are injured in the course of their work. The law also applies to some individuals working on platforms and oil rigs.
Longshoremen are dock workers hired to load and unload ships. Harbor workers are engaged in ship repair, ship building and ship breaking, or dismantling of a vessel over 65 feet in length.
Longshore and Harbor Workers Act benefits are separate from workers' compensation benefits. Workers are entitled to payments on a schedule that increases yearly in October. (link to http://www.dol.gov/esa/owcp/dlhwc/NAWWinfo.htm) Payments are based on your average weekly wage, which is calculated based on the 52 weeks prior to your accident and includes all income considered for purposes of withholding tax under IRS code, such as vacation pay, holidays and container roll-offs. Whether the average weekly wage has been correctly calculated is an issue in nearly every longshore case.
From our main office in Boca Raton and a satellite office in Clewiston, Florida, the lawyers of Howard S. Grossman, P.A. serve injured port workers in Miami, Hollywood, Fort Lauderdale, Port Everglades, Pompano Beach, Delray Beach, West Palm Beach, Boynton Beach, Pembroke Pines, Clewiston, Melbourne, Coral Springs, Cape Canaveral, Tampa Bay, Port Canaveral, Jacksonville, and throughout Florida.
Level of Disability
Compensation under the act for injuries generally falls under one of four categories:
Temporary partial disability - If you are able to earn some wages but less than you were prior to your injury, such as working fewer hours, light duty, or lower wages, you are entitled to two-thirds of the difference between your average weekly wage before the accident and your new earning capacity, paid up to five years or until you reach maximum medical improvement.
Temporary total disability - If you are temporarily unable to earn any wages, you are entitled to 66 2/3 of your average weekly wage.
Permanent partial disability - If a permanent injury affects your earning potential you are entitled to compensation. The act has a schedule of injuries that pays a specific amount for an injury to each body part, based on the percentage disability to that part. For example, if you suffer a 20-percent disability to your hand-- as determined by the American Medical Association Guide to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment-- you are entitled to 244 weeks of compensation multiplied by 20 percent, or a total of 44.8 weeks of benefits.
If your injury is not on the schedule - a back, neck or head injury, for example, you must prove your lost wage-earning capacity. Once you prove you are no longer able to perform your previous occupation, the burden shifts to the employer to prove you are not permanently totally disabled. If you are determined not to be permanently and totally disabled, you may still be eligible for permanent partial disability benefits for the rest of your life.
Permanent total disability - If you are unable to engage in any gainful employment, you are entitled to permanent disability benefits. Injuries that are presumed to cause permanent total disability include the loss of two hands, arms, feet, legs or eyes. For non-schedule injuries, you are entitled to 66-2/3 of your average weekly wage (up to the maximum compensation rate, plus a cost-of-living adjustment), as long as you remain totally disabled.
What Is Covered
Compensable injuries include those caused by exposure to toxic substances, including asbestos.
The act covers medical expenses for doctors, dentists, podiatrists, psychiatrists, optometrists, chiropractors, physical therapists, medically recommended acupuncture, medication, prosthetics and durable medical equipment. You also are entitled to travel reimbursement for medical visits.
It is important to note that you must choose a physician authorized by the U.S. Department of Labor to provide care under the act. You are entitled to change doctors, but you must request permission from your employers' insurer or a deputy commissioner. If the insurer refuses your request, you may seek reimbursement for those medical expenses before an administrative law judge.
Death benefits under the Longshore & Harbor Workers Act are paid to survivors such as the widow or widower or surviving children. If no spouse or child exists, or if the amount payable is less than two-thirds of the victim's average weekly wage, the death benefits go to any dependent grandchildren or siblings.
Claims and Appeals
If you are denied any benefits under the act and your attorney is successful in obtaining them for you, you may be entitled to reimbursement for your attorney's fees.
Late payment of benefits may entitle you to interest and penalties, depending on the nature of the delay.
Claims must be filed within one year of the time you are injured or you should have been aware that your injury was related to your employment. The claim must be filed with the Department of Labor deputy commissioner in the compensation district in which the injury or death occurred.
Death and disability claims stemming from occupational diseases must be filed within two years of the time you become aware or should have been aware of the relationship between your job and your disease or death, or within one year of the last payment of compensation, whichever is later. Exemptions apply for minors and others for whom a guardian has been appointed.
Claims are heard by an Administrative Law Judge, who rejects the claim or awards benefits. There is no jury trial. An appeal must be filed within 30 days of a decision to a Benefits Review Board. That decision then may be appealed within 60 days to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the circuit in which the injury occurred.
Our law firm's attorneys are experienced in litigating Longshoremens' claims, including claims of Mesothelioma. Our Longshore attorney, Timothy C. Nies, defended Fortune 500 companies in thousands of Asbestosis and Mesothelioma claims while working as a defense attorney for the Florida Law Firm of Wicker, Smith, O'Hara, McCoy Graham & Ford, P.A. in Fort Lauderdale. Our managing Longshore attorney, Howard S. Grossman, is a Florida Bar Board-Certified Emeritus Specialist in Workers Compensation.
Asbestos is the terminology given to a group of minerals, which was an often used material in the shipping industry and materials containing Asbestos were used on naval vessels as insulation. Particularly, it was utilized to fit over steam pumps, gaskets, pipes and boilers on ships.. Asbestos was also commonly used in shipyards where massive ships were built and maintained, especially during World War II and later. Longshoremen, including boat builders, boiler coverers, crane operators, heat treaters, shipfitters, firewatchers, marine electricians, foundry workers, diesel mechanics, insulator's helpers, stevedores, and marine machinists commonly inhaled harmful asbestos from the asbestos-containing products on the ships and shipyards, as well as from asbestos-containing cargo, which they moved from shipyard to ship and vice versa.
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The complexity of Longshore claims before the OWCP makes it crucial that you hire a maritime attorney. With our extensive knowledge and experience in maritime injury law, include Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act claims, we will ensure you obtain the medical treatment and compensation you require. We help injured clients in Miami, North Miami, Miami Beach, Aventura, Kendall, Miami Lakes, South Miami and all Miami-Dade, Mobile, Brunswick, Savannah, Tampa, Miami-Dade, Fort Lauderdale, Port Everglades, Sunrise, Pompano Beach, Delray Beach, Coral Springs, Hollywood, West Palm Beach, Ft. Lauderdale, Pembroke Pines, Port of Palm Beach, North Palm Beach, Boyaton Beach, Nelroy Beach, Boca Raton, Wellington, Port Canaveral, Cape Canaveral, Jacksonville, Port of Jacksonville, Panama City, Tampa, Fort Myers, Port of Miami, Port of Fort Pierre, Port of Key West, Port of Manatee, Port of St. Petersburg, Port of Tampa, Port of Panama City, Port of Brunswick, Port of Savannah in Georgia, as well as Port of South Louisiana, Port of New Orleans, Louisiana Offshore Oil Port in Louisiana and the Port of Mobile in Alabama. Our attorneys help longshoremen and shipbuilders throughout the U.S.