Virginia longshore and harbor work puts you at an increased risk of serious injury compared to other careers. When you suffer a work injury or work-related illness that renders you unable to work, you and your family suffer greatly. You face lost wages and mounting medical bills you may be unable to pay.
Longshore workers are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. At Montagna Law, our Virginia workers’ compensation lawyers can help you fight for fair compensation and a settlement that covers your needs so you can focus on healing. Reach out to our firm today to learn more.
Working on the shore or harbors of Virginia carries risks for workers unique from other jobs, even greater in some cases than construction workers. These can include the following:
Longshoremen deal with heavy equipment daily, and accidents occur all the time. Ship-breakers, for example, use dangerous equipment to dispose of ships that are no longer in use. Whether an injury is due to equipment failure, improper safety protocols, or a simple accident, it causes injured workers great pain and suffering.
Falls are some of the most common injuries across many industries, and longshore work is no different. With this type of job, however, workers climb ladders, work on scaffolding, and traverse catwalks high above the ground. A fall from a great height can result in severe lifelong personal injury or death.
Even when not high up, longshore workers face risks of slip and fall injuries every day. They work on wet, slick surfaces along wharves and have exposure to grease and oil from machinery. If this happens to you, you deserve workers’ comp.
Longshore workers are at sites like shipyards that constantly carry the risk of falling tools, buckets, debris, and other objects. Shipbuilders climb all around ships with tools and gear that can be knocked loose and fall, causing severe injury.
The proximity of fuel and other volatile chemicals creates the risk of explosions and fires. When Virginia longshore workers are too close to these chemicals, they can face lifelong injury and disfigurement.
Repetitive use injuries include things like carpal tunnel syndrome. These can result from using hammers, drills, or any other motion you do every day, all day. Even typing on a computer can cause these sorts of injuries.
Exposure to toxic substances can cause occupational diseases, poisoning, and other health conditions. These substances can cause cancer and lifelong medical costs.
Explosions, the banging of equipment, falling objects, ship-breaking, and other sounds can carryhigh decibels on a job site. Exposure to these loud sounds can cause permanent hearing loss.
There are many potential causes of injuries and illnesses to longshoremen. They can include the following.
Safety is paramount when on a dangerous job site for harbor workers, shipbuilders, wharf workers, oil rig workers, or ship breakers. If the job site does not properly train workers, deadly accidents can result.
Proper equipment is essential to keeping workers safe. When personal protective equipment (PPE) is not provided or is inadequate for the job, this can result in injured employees.
Machinery along the seashore is constantly exposed to humid salt air. This can wear down machinery and corrode parts. These machines must be constantly maintained, and if they are not, they can break down and cause injuries.
Longshore work is dangerous in nature. Employers must keep work conditions as safe as possible. Many workers’ comp injury claims result from simple unsafe conditions.
Supervisor negligence means that a supervisor, a foreman, or other management personnel fail to do their due diligence, which can lead to any of the above conditions. An important part of the supervisor’s job is ensuring that employees are properly trained and have the right safety gear, and that the job site is as safe as possible. An injury case may result when a supervisor acts negligently.
When you are hurt on a longshore job site, it is important to contact a qualified injury attorney with practice areas involving maritime law such as the Jones Act and Longshore Act, workers’ compensation law, and the risks that maritime workers face every day. At the law firm of Montagna Law, our injury lawyers are ready to provide legal advice and representation for your workers’ compensation claim. Call us today at 757-622-8100 or complete our online contact form for a free consultation.
The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, also called the LHWCA or Longshore Act, is a federal law that guarantees workers’ compensation for injuries that occur on navigable waters of the United States. This law covers most maritime occupations, including longshore workers, construction workers, shipbuilders, ship-repair workers, and ship breakers. The LHWCA also covers non-maritime employees if their work happens on navigable waters.
The Longshore Act offers several workers’ compensation benefits to longshore harbor workers. The intention is to allow you to cover your expenses while you focus on healing, as with any form of workers’ compensation.
Medical benefits cover the costs of all medical care, from doctor’s visits to medication, surgical and diagnostic procedures, physical therapy, and even transportation to and from appointments. Workers’ compensation should cover all of the medical bills associated with your injury.
Workers’ comp benefits cover a portion of the wages you lose while healing from a serious personal injury. These normally amount to two-thirds of the average weekly wage before your injury, but they may be modified based on your level of disability and capped at a level that changes every year.
You may be able to collect disability compensation for specific injuries that carry long-term effects. Insurance companies will look at whether your disability is partial or total, temporary or permanent, and the amount and duration of compensation to which you are entitled will be determined based on that rating.
Partial disabilities assume you can still do some work, even on a limited basis. Total disability means you cannot work at all. Temporary disability means you are expected to get better, while permanent disability means you have reached a state of maximum medical improvement. If you have a permanent disability, you may be able to receive benefits for life, while temporary disability will be limited to a fixed number of weeks.
Those who lose a loved one to a workplace accident or illness may be entitled to receive death benefits. These can include the wage and medical benefits offered to injured workers as well as funeral and burial expenses. If you lose a family member to a maritime or longshore injury, you should speak with an experienced maritime law attorney to seek these benefits.
The Jones Act is a federal statute supporting workers injured at sea. This act allows seamen to bring personal injury cases against their employers by extending the Federal Employers’ Liability Act to seamen. This act removes the confusion when injuries occur outside of a particular state due to being on the water. If you are unsure whether you can bring a personal injury claim against an employer under the Jones Act, a qualified longshore workers’ compensation attorney may be able to help.
You should always be cautious about offers from insurance companies. These companies are the ones that pay workers’ compensation claims, but they are not out to provide fair coverage to longshoremen. Rather, they seek to pay as little as possible for injury cases. Insurance companies are for-profit companies that do not make money by paying large claims.
For this reason, you should contact a knowledgeable work injury attorney if you are injured while working on the water or in a shipyard. Workers’ comp attorneys know how to stand up against insurance providers and fight for the full benefits you deserve.
Maritime workers have unique laws in place to protect them, and that is because their job carries unique risks. The injuries and occupational diseases common to maritime workers can lead to lifelong disability and expensive medical bills. Virginia workers’ compensation law can get complicated and carry tight deadlines. Adding the challenges of maritime work makes it even more confusing and difficult because your injury may occur off Virginia soil, which can carry complications when dealing with the state Workers’ Compensation Commission.
Having an attorney well-versed in workers’ compensation benefits and maritime law is vital to ensuring you have access to the full benefits to which you are entitled. Montagna Law has a team of experienced injury lawyers who also understand the complexities of maritime injury claims.
We have a skilled team of Hampton Roads attorneys serving Newport News, Chesapeake, Suffolk, Norfolk, Portsmouth, and the Virginia Beach areas. We also assist maritime workers in New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and North Carolina. We are knowledgeable and experienced in both personal injury and maritime law. These areas coincide when you are hurt at a shipyard or on a dock. We are aggressive and tenacious trial lawyers who fight every step of the way for our clients’ right to fair compensation. Our legal team has helped numerous injured employees and shipbuilders secure the benefits and compensation they deserve.
If you are a longshore worker who has been hurt at sea, do not delay and put your case at risk. Our Virginia longshore and harbor workers’ compensation attorneys are here to listen to your case and provide the representation and legal advice you need. There is no disclaimer and no obligation. Just give us a call today at 757-622-8100 or fill out our easy online form to schedule a consultation.
Jon Montagna received a Bachelor of Arts in Literature from American University in Washington D.C. and graduated Cum Laude from the University of Miami School of Law in 1999. Jon practices law in the Hampton Roads Virginia area.