What To Do and Know If You've Been Hurt At Sea | Jim Adler & Associates
Jim Adler | The Tough, Smart Lawyer
I. What is a Third-Party Longshore Workers Compensation Claim?
Longshoreman, stevedores, dock workers, ship repairmen and other maritime workers face danger every day they go to work. Moving heavy cargo, operating heavy machinery, and working on or near container ships, in inclement weather, and next to (or in) the water can make an already risky job even more risky. A defective piece of equipment or negligence by a contractor or another third-party (like another dock worker or equipment manufacturer) can cause a life-altering, or even life-ending, injury.

The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) addresses longshoremen and other maritime workers’ injuries and deaths that occur on or as a result of the job.

Under the LHWCA, longshoreman and other maritime workers can demand compensation for their injuries, no matter who is at fault. But in exchange for that compensation, they are barred from suing their employer or co-worker. Instead, they must file claims for lost wages, rehabilitation, medical bills and death.

Nevertheless, even though you are barred from suing your employer you can still sue negligent third parties that caused or contributed to your injuries (whether they are entirely or partially responsible), including: ship crew or other dock workers, contractors, architects, vessel owners, port authorities, repair companies, manufacturers, etc.

In other words, if you are a maritime worker and are injured on the job (or have a family member killed) as the result of a negligent act by a third party, and you qualify for workers´ compensation benefits under the Longshore Act or your state’s workers´ compensation statute, then you can:
  • File for workers compensation benefits under the LHWCA; and
  • bring civil claims against negligent third parties (not your employer or co-worker), including another person (like another dock worker) or their employer.
  • *You don’t have to choose between filing a claim under the LHWCA or suing a negligent, non-employer third party; you can do both.
II. What do I need to know about the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act and maritime, dock, harbor or shipping-related injuries or death?
The clock is ticking. You should speak with an experienced maritime law and third-party LHWCA attorney as soon as possible because your legal window of opportunity to make a claim could be as short as six months.

III. How do third-party longshore claims work?
After an accident, an injured longshoreman or other maritime worker must go through the regular LHWCA reporting process and inform their employer about their injury or illness.

IV. The two main types of third-party LHWCA claims.
Third-party LHWCA actions are complex, and we highly recommend speaking with a qualified attorney. There are two main types of third-party actions that can be taken.

A. Section 905(b) “negligence of a vessel” lawsuit for a worker that was working on or “in connection with.” This includes the vessel’s “owner, owner pro hac vice, agent, operator, charger or bare boat charterer, master, officer, or crew member” for negligence that caused the worker’s injury or illness.

For 905(b) lawsuits there are three types of negligence:
  1. vessel owner (or other listed responsible party) breach of the duty to provide the ship in a safe condition or warn of hidden dangers;
  2. breach of the duty to prevent worker injury when the owner is in active control of the ship; or
  3. breach of the duty to intervene to protect workers from known danger during operations.
B. Section 933 lawsuit against a third-party (not the vessel owner).
  1. Negligence of a contractor at the work site;
  2. Product liability claim against manufacturer, distributor or seller of defective or dangerous equipment;
  3. Negligent repair or equipment maintenance; and
  4. Negligent ship loading that caused harm to the person doing the unloading.
V. How do I file a third-party longshore workers comp claim? These claims are complex and can require intensive and expensive investigation and coordination, which is why you need an attorney with decades of experience in third-party personal injury claims.

Regardless of whether your accident happened in Texas or any other state, the attorneys at Jim Adler & Associates have over 30 years of experience hammering insurance companies and third-parties that don’t want to pay their fair share of compensation for your injuries.

Regardless of whether your injuries occurred in the Port of Houston, or any other port in the US, we’re here to help. And we only get paid if you get paid. Our fees come out of a favorable jury verdict or settlement, never your pocket!

Contact Jim Adler & Associates for your free initial consultation with our top third-party LHWCA and maritime attorneys, today.

Call us at 1-800-505-1414 or fill out our free initial consultation form and we will get in touch with you immediately.
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