Maritime and Longshore Attorneys in Pennsylvania and New Jersey
Our attorneys are experienced in maritime law cases and have helped many injured longshoremen, seamen, other maritime workers, and their families get the financial compensation to which they are entitled. The trial lawyers at have the expertise you need to reach a successful outcome in your maritime or longshore case, so contact our Pennsylvania or New Jersey offices today for a free consultation.
Longshore and Maritime Claims
Longshoremen and maritime workers are exposed to unique on-the-job hazards on a daily basis. Whether working offshore, on the waterfront, or shipside, these workers are regularly exposed to dangerous conditions, machinery, cargo, and equipment that can cause injury. If you or a loved one has been injured in a longshore or maritime accident, you need to contact trial attorneys with significant experience and expertise in handling longshore and maritime claims. The longshore and maritime attorneys at Sheridan & Murray have the expertise that you need. We have helped numerous longshoremen and workers with maritime law cases in Pennsylvania and New Jersey obtain the compensation they deserve. The trial attorneys at Sheridan & Murray are determined, experienced, and will help navigate the complexities of your case.
Longshoremen are maritime workers who are generally responsible for:
- Loading and unloading cargo from ships
- Building and repairing ships
- Other tasks incidental to working on the waterfront on piers, docks, and shipping terminals.
When a longshoreman is injured in an accident, the injured worker may be able to recover compensation for damages, medical bills, rehabilitation costs, lost wages and more through their employer’s workers’ compensation coverage and from any negligent third party under maritime laws.
Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation
The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) is a federal maritime law that was enacted to provide comprehensive workers’ compensation coverage for maritime workers who are injured on navigable waters. The LHWCA was initially enacted by the federal government in 1927 to provide injured longshore workers with coverage where there was nostate workers’ compensation. This system led to wide-spread disparity in coverage for injured workers and prompted the federal government to amend the LHWCA in 1984 to provide uniform benefits to injured workers throughout the United States.
The LHWCA is administered by the U.S. Department of Labor and provides coverage to the following groups of workers:
- Harbor Workers
- Ship Repairmen
- Shipbuilders / Ship-Breakers
The LHWCA provides coverage to these workers if they are injured while:
- Loading/unloading cargo
- Building/repairing ships
- Working on piers, ship terminals, wharfs, off-shore platforms, dry docks and bridges
Under the LHWCA, maritime workers and longshoremen are entitled to financial compensation, benefits, and services if they are injured, disabled, or killed incident to their employment. The LHWCA provides coverage for any injury sustained on the job or occupational disease that arises from or is worsened by marine employment. Injured workers are eligible for benefits under LHWCA maritime law regardless of their previous physical condition and pre-existing injuries if the conditions are aggravated, re-injured, or worsened during employment.
The LHWCA provides the following types of benefits to injured workers:
- Payment of Medical Expenses
- Payment of Disability Compensation
- Rehabilitation Services
The LHWCA requires that employers make payment for all medical care and rehabilitation necessary to treat the injuries sustained by a longshoreman during the course of employment. The LHWCA also entitles the worker to select the physician of his or her choice for treatment. The employer is also required to pay out disability compensation to the injured worker for lost wages due to the injuries sustained. Disability compensation is typically paid at a rate of two-thirds of the worker’s average weekly wage. However, some injuries have a uniquely established rate and schedule of compensation. In the event of death caused by injury, the LHWCA requires employers to dispense funeral expenses and other compensation payments to the surviving spouse and family.
Injured workers need to know that the LHWCA is their only remedy and means to pursue a maritime law claim against their employer as a result of injuries sustained during the course of maritime employment. Injured workers are not permitted to pursue third-party claims against their employer. The LHWCA is the exclusive means for the injured worker to recover compensation from his or her employer. One advantage of this statutory system is that the injured worker need not prove that the employer was at fault for causing the injury or occupational disease. The injured worker may recover benefits under LHWCA even where the injured worker is partially responsible for causing the accident or injury.
Each claim brought under the LHWCA is different and possesses varying degrees of complexity, making it extremely important to select an attorney who has the experience and expertise to handle any LHWCA claim. At Sheridan & Murray, our maritime and longshore attorneys help workers in Pennsylvania and New Jersey clients successfully pursue LHWCA claims and can help you as well.
Longshore and Harbor Workers – Third-Party Lawsuits
Longshoremen and other maritime workers who have been injured may also be able to file a third-party lawsuit if their injuries were caused due to the negligence of someone other than their co-workers or employer. The investigation of third-party maritime and longshore claims is essential to properly protecting the interests of the injured individual. It is critical to your case that you report the accident to your employer immediately and consult an attorney as soon as possible to ensure that your rights are adequately protected. If you or a loved one has been injured in a longshore or maritime accident due to the negligence of a third party, you need to contact trial attorneys with significant experience in handling third-party and longshore claims in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The longshore and maritime attorneys at Sheridan & Murray have the expertise that you need to achieve a successful outcome in your lawsuit
In addition to holding a maritime employer responsible for acts of negligence, a seaman can recover financial compensation if it can be proven that the vessel was unseaworthy and the injury occurred as a result. It is the vessel owner’s responsibility to provide workers with a seaworthy vessel. Under the law, a seaworthy vessel is:
- Suited for its intended use
- A safe place to work
- A safe place to live
- Outfitted with safety gear and equipment that works properly
- Equipped with safe recreation facilities
- Staffed with a competent crew
Unlike a Jones Act claim, which is brought against the seaman’s employer, an unseaworthiness claim is made against the vessel’s owner. In many maritime injury and wrongful death cases, the owner and employer will both be sued for damages in order to achieve maximum fair compensation. Claims of unseaworthiness have a statute of limitations which states that the claim be filed within three years of the injury. Additionally, the unseaworthiness claim must be combined with a Jones Act claim. If you have been injured due to the unseaworthiness of a vessel, contact our lawyers today. Their experience and expertise in maritime law cases in Pennsylvania and New Jersey will help you achieve a positive outcome in your case.
See also: What Is the Jones Act