Have you been injured in a maritime work accident but aren’t sure what compensation is available?
Maritime law contains several ways for workers to get compensation after an injury, depending on the type of worker and location of the accident.
One legal provision that helps maritime workers is The Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act (LHWCA), including extended employee legal action under section 905(b).
Understanding 905(b) claims can help you obtain a maximum worker injury lawsuit settlement.
Keep reading to find out who qualifies for compensation under the Longshore Act.
If you would like an attorney to help you sort through the specifics of maritime law injury compensation, contact The BFH Law Group for a free consultation.
Who Does the Longshore Act Cover?
The Longshore Act provides compensation for injured maritime workers, including longshoremen, shipbuilders, and harbor workers.
The Act covers injuries that occur offshore or on adjacent areas such as docks, piers, wharves, and shipyards.
The Longshore Act was enacted in 1927 to provide coverage for maritime workers excluded by the Jones Act.
This means that workers eligible for Jones Act protection cannot file a claim under the Longshore Act.
Likewise, maritime workers who have workers’ compensation coverage cannot file a claim under the Longshore Act.
What Compensation Does the Longshore Act Provide?
The Longshore Act provides maritime workers a no-fault avenue for recovering compensation.
This means that even if the accident was the worker’s fault, the worker can still recover under the Longshore Act.
The employer must pay for the worker’s medical treatment, rehabilitation expenses, and two-thirds of the employee’s weekly wage.
This compensation continues as long as the worker is disabled.
Wrongful death benefits allow the surviving spouse half of the worker’s average wage, with 16% added for the worker’s children.
What Is a 905(b) Claim?
While helpful in providing basic compensation, the Longshore Act does not allow an employee to sue an employer for damages.
However, there is an exception to the Longshore Act’s general rules, in section 905(b), that allows an employee to sue a third party or a negligent employer.
A 905(b) lawsuit for employer negligence is fault-based, requiring an employee to prove the four elements of negligence:
- The employer had a duty to provide a safe work environment;
- The employer failed to provide a safe work environment;
- The employee suffered an injury due to the unsafe work environment; and
- The employee’s injury is worth damages, or compensation.
An employee could sue a third party, such as an equipment manufacturer if faulty equipment caused the accident.
Damages under section 905(b) include a broad range of harm suffered by the employee, such as the following:
- Medical costs,
- Rehabilitation expenses,
- Lost earning capacity,
- Pain and suffering,
- Loss of companionship, and
- Loss of enjoyment.
An employee can recover for more extensive damages under 905(b), so employees should explore filing a lawsuit under this provision to obtain maximum compensation for their injury.
Do You Want to Talk to a Maritime Attorney?
If you think you have a Longshore Act section 905(b) claim, you should talk to a knowledgeable maritime attorney.
Maritime law is complex, and lawyers who handle land-based workers’ compensation claims may not understand the intricacies of the law governing maritime injuries.
The BFH Law Group helps maritime workers who have been injured on the job.
Our attorneys have maritime law degrees, and we have offices throughout the Gulf South.
We understand both the maritime work environment and the tactics insurance companies use to deny your claim.
Contact us for a free consultation where we can review your accident experience and let you know if we can help you with a section 905(b) claim.
Then, we’ll advocate for you with the insurance company to try to obtain a maximum workplace injury settlement.