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Longshore Fixed Platform Injury Lawyer

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What You Can Collect if You’ve Been Hurt on a Fixed Platform

Were you injured in a platform accident? The Longshore Act limits your recovery from your company to only two things:

  • compensation benefits
  • reasonable medical expenses

You cannot receive any damages for the physical pain and suffering and you will not receive the full amount of your lost wages under the Longshore Act.

But there are several other types of claims that you can receive your full damages under and you must be sure to consider these if you are an injured platform worker.

What is the Harbor Workers Compensation Act?

The Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, officially known as the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA), is a federal law enacted in 1927 in the United States.

It provides compensation and medical care to employees who are injured or contract occupational diseases while working on navigable waters of the United States or in adjoining areas used in loading, unloading, repairing, or building a vessel. This includes workers in shipyards, marine terminals, and docks.

Key points about the LHWCA:

  1. Coverage: The Act covers maritime workers who are not seamen, such as longshoremen, harbor workers, and other maritime employees. It does not cover the crew of vessels, who are covered under the Jones Act.
  2. Benefits: Injured workers are entitled to medical care, compensation for lost wages, rehabilitation services, and benefits for permanent disabilities. In cases of death, the Act provides compensation to survivors.
  3. Administration: The U.S. Department of Labor administers the Act through the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP). Claims are handled by district offices located in various regions.
  4. Employer Responsibilities: Employers must have insurance coverage or be authorized as self-insurers to pay for benefits under the LHWCA. Failure to comply can result in significant penalties.
  5. Claims Process: Workers or their representatives must file a claim with the OWCP, providing necessary documentation of the injury or illness. Claim disputes can be resolved through formal hearings before an administrative law judge.

The LHWCA aims to provide a safety net for maritime workers, ensuring they receive proper care and compensation for injuries sustained during their employment.

Filing a Third Party Claim

You can file ‘third party’ claims against any company that did anything wrong that may have caused or contributed to your accident. I generally break these into two categories:

  • claims against companies that actively did something wrong
  • claims against companies that designed something improperly or failed to maintain something properly on your platform.
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Let me give you some examples. There were probably lots of different companies working on your platform. If your platform accident was caused by something one of the employees for these companies did wrong, then you can file a claim against this company.

Remember, this is in addition to any Longshore claim you may have against your employer, and it does not reduce what you can collect from your employer.

These are examples of just some of the types of platform accident claims we have handled for our clients:

  • injury due to being injured in a personal basket operated by a third party crane operator
  • injury due to falling into a deck hole left open by third party employee
  • injury due to being struck by pipe being moved by a third party crane operator
  • getting hurt while under the supervision of a third party supervisor

The second category of claims against third parties falls into what I call “design or maintenance claims.” The platform you worked on had lots of equipment on it. From the living quarters to the generators and piping, you had to rely on all this equipment to be properly designed and maintained.

Examples of these types of claims include: injury due to the poor design of the platform itself, injury due to a dangerous step on the outside of the living quarters, injury due to unsafe stairs and steps on the platform.

Filing a 905(b) Claim: Understanding Your Rights

When you are injured as a maritime worker, you may have several avenues for seeking compensation. One important option is filing a 905(b) claim under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA). This section explains the intricacies of 905(b) claims and how they can help you secure the compensation you deserve.

What is a 905(b) Claim?

A 905(b) claim refers to a specific provision in the LHWCA that allows injured maritime workers to file a lawsuit against the owner of a vessel for negligence. This can include situations where the vessel owner is a third party or even your own employer if they own the vessel on which you were injured.

Who Can File a 905(b) Claim?

  1. Longshore Workers and Harbor Workers: If you are covered under the Longshore Act and were injured on a vessel, you have the right to file a 905(b) claim against the vessel’s owner.
  2. Platform Workers: If you work on offshore platforms and suffer an injury due to the vessel’s owner’s negligence, you can file a 905(b) claim, even if your employer owns the vessel.

Filing a 905(b) Claim Against Your Employer

Under the Longshore Act, you generally receive compensation through your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance. However, if your injury occurred on a vessel owned by your employer, you can file a 905(b) claim against them for negligence. This is a significant provision because it allows you to pursue additional compensation beyond the standard workers’ compensation benefits.

Filing a 905(b) Claim Against Third-Party Vessel Owners

If your injury was caused by the negligence of a third-party vessel owner, you can also file a 905(b) claim against them. This expands your options for seeking compensation and holding the responsible parties accountable.

The Limitations of the Longshore Act

While the Longshore Act provides essential benefits such as medical care and wage replacement, it does not always offer full compensation for all damages incurred from a workplace injury. This includes non-economic damages like pain and suffering. Therefore, pursuing a 905(b) claim can be crucial to ensuring you receive full compensation for your injuries.

Steps to Take

  1. Report the Injury: Immediately report your injury to your employer and seek medical attention.
  2. Document Everything: Keep detailed records of your injury, medical treatments, and any communication with your employer and insurance company.
  3. Consult a Maritime Lawyer: Given the complexities of maritime law and 905(b) claims, consulting with an experienced maritime lawyer is essential. They can help you navigate the legal process and ensure your rights are protected.

Filing a 905(b) claim can significantly enhance your ability to receive full and fair compensation for injuries sustained while working in maritime environments. Understanding your rights and the legal avenues available can make a critical difference in your recovery and financial well-being.

By leveraging both the benefits provided by the Longshore Act and the additional compensation available through 905(b) claims, you can better protect your interests and achieve a more comprehensive recovery after an injury.

Call us so we can discuss any possible third party claims or 905b you may have to help you recover what you deserve.

The Young Firm

400 Poydras St, Ste 2090
New Orleans, LA 70130