The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act
For many Mississippians, working on the water provides a steady source of income with which they can care for their families. Unfortunately, because accidents can and will happen, there will be times when one of our Mississippi maritime workers is injured or killed on the job.
If you or a loved one has been injured while working on the water, here’s what you should know:
-The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act is a federal law that provides a means for which our Mississippi workers can be compensated for injuries received while working on the water.
-The term “working on the water” includes jobs performed on any of the navigable waterways in and around the continental United States, as well as piers, docks, terminals, wharves, and loading areas adjoining the water.
-A claim must be filed with the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs within one year of injury of death.
Here are a few answers to questions injured workers may have:
What should I do if I am injured while working on the water?
First, notify your employer of the injury immediately and seek medical attention as soon as possible. You are entitled to seek medical help from a physician of YOUR choosing. Next, file a written report of injury with both your employer and the District Director of the Longshore district office within thirty days of injury. If you fail to file a written report within that time period, you could potentially forgo your rights to compensation.
If I’m hurt on the water and file a claim with the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, can my employer fire me?
No. Federal law prevents an employer from retaliating against an employee who files a claim with the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act.
How much money will I get for my injury?
That depends on several factors. The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act has provided a fee schedule to help quantify a dollar amount based on which body part is injured; however, there are several variables an Administrative Law Judge can take into consideration when determining how large an award will be.
Should I hire an attorney if I am hurt while working on the water?
Absolutely. While the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act exists in order to help injured employees, the process of filing a claim can be tricky, and one misstep along the way could cause your claim to be dismissed. Also, you’ll need someone in your corner who knows how to maximize the amount of compensation you are entitled to. Remember, you are dealing with an insurance company who is in the business of making and saving money.