Maritime Law Overview
Seaman's Information Regarding Maritime Injury
While on the water, people find themselves in situations that could end in accident or injury.
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Under the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation act, workers who work on federal waters or on structures over them are entitled to compensation if they're injured while on the job. For Longshoremen, this means that they can expect to receive any reasonable and necessary medical treatment for said injuries. In addition to the price of a doctor visit, Longshoremen are entitled to pay for the miles they have to travel to receive care as well. The only catch is that under most compensation plans and the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act, all medical care must be rendered by a physician approved by the Department of Labor or it won't be covered, often significantly reducing the care options available.
Under the LHWCA injured workers are covered for both temporary and permanent disabilities and including both full and partial disability. The amount and duration of benefits varies depending on the type of disability and how much it affects a person's ability to work. Full temporary disability prevents a worker from working at all for a time while partial temporary disability forces the worker to do less at work but they are still able to work. Temporary disabilities entitle workers to compensation for up to five years. Permanent disabilities allow collection of benefits indefinitely according to the type of compensation that disability is eligible for.
Full disability generally allows the worker to collect 2/3rds their normal weekly wage, which is not to be below the national average weekly pay for their job and not to exceed twice the national weekly average. Currently, that means that an injured worker can not be paid less than about $300 per week or more than about $1,200 per week while disabled. Workers are eligible to receive 2/3rds the difference between their previous wage and their current wage when partial disability forces them into a lower-paying job.
Some injuries, such as the loss or disabling of a body part, fall under specific losses.
These losses pay out benefits for a set period of time which varies depending on the type of loss. Disfiguration and dismemberment are common specific losses. Compensation for these losses is calculated as full or partial disabilities, but the period of time can be anything from 15 weeks for the loss of a little finger to 312 weeks for the loss of an arm.
If a Longshoreman dies of injuries sustained on the job, the deceased's spouse is entitled to funeral benefits up to $3,000 and 50%-66.66% of the worker's weekly wage for life or until remarriage. Remarriage entitles the surviving spouse to a lump sum equal to two years' compensation and then payments cease. Children or qualifying dependents can also receive benefits; if a child is the only survivor he or she is entitled to the same amount of compensation until 18 years of age. If the child is a full-time student, the time may be extended until 23 years of age. In cases where the child is not capable of taking care of himself or herself due to disability (mental or physical) that compensation will continue for life.
These basic benefits are protected by law and should always be available to injured workers. However, in some cases there may be an attempt to withhold benefits or the worker may be entitled to additional compensation from negligent employers or other at-fault parties. For this reason, it is always strongly suggested to consult an attorney if you've been injured on the job.