If you are a civilian from New York who received injuries while working as a private employee on a military base in the desert nations of Iraq or Afghanistan, you may wonder what the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act has to do with you. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the LHWCA is a statute related to the Defense Base Act, which affords you workers' compensation benefits for job-related injuries you received while working overseas for a government contractor or subcontractor. The same division of the government that supervises the Longshore Act also administers the Defense Base Act.
No one in Manhattan ever anticipates getting injured when they go into work. There may be certain professions, however, where exposure to certain risks is inherent. If you work on a U.S. military installation (or are contracted with the U.S. government to provide work related to national defense), there may be a chance that your work might (at times) involve danger. If and when such danger results in an injury, who is going to help cover your expenses? Many come to see us here at Tabak Mellusi & Shisha LLP with this very question, and are often surprised by our answer.
Many longshoremen in New York face a risk of experiencing a serious head injury while on the job. In this case, the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) is often used to assess a person’s level of consciousness after such an injury has occurred, which serves an indication of how severe any damage present truly is. Brainline.org offers the following information on the GCS and how it’s used to assess head injuries.
Simply because you know that protections are in place to help you should you be injured doing maritime work at any of Manhattan's docks or ports does not necessarily mean that you should be completely free from worry about what might happen should such a thing ever occur. Equally as important as knowing that you are entitled to benefits under the Longshore Act is understanding how long those benefits will last. The answer to the latter question depends on the nature of your injury.
When referring to "maritime injuries," most likely assume those to be injuries sustained by crew members while at sea. Yet vessels are not always at sea (or even in the water, for that matter). As many of those that we here at Tabak Mellusi & Shisha LLP have worked with can confirm, there are almost as many dangers associated with ships on land as there are when those same ships are at sea. Your interactions with ships on land are most likely to occur on dry docks. The question then becomes whether federal maritime regulations protect offer the same employee protections when a ship is in a dry dock.
The work being done by those employed at the docks of Manhattan and the rest of the U.S. is vital to the country's economic well-being. It is also recognized as having several inherent risks. Thus, federal laws such as a the Longshore Act have been enacted to protect you and others engaged in such work. The Longshore Act specifically offers financial assistance to help deal with the expenses related to your dockside injury. Yet one important element to understand prior to planning on receiving such assistance is whether you qualify for it at all.
It may be easy to assume that any time you are injured in Manhattan, the potential for assigning liability exists. Many come to us here at Tabak Mellusi & Shisha LLP with this mindset, only to be disappointed to learn that in order to pursue a claim, you must first have cause of action. While cause of action requirements can often be quite general, it is still helpful to understand the concept behind them in order to be sure in knowing if you do or do not have legal recourse in a certain situation.
Although employee safety is the key focus in America's maritime industry, countless New York workers suffer from serious accidents each year. Historically, the industry has come a long way, with a number of laws in effect that work to protect all workers at sea. The Longshore Act is one of these laws, and while it helps provide safety, it has also come with a number of complications along the way.
Many in Manhattan may perceive a career in the maritime industry to be filled with intrigue and adventure. What they may not know is that such work is also very dangerous. The unpredictability of the world's oceans and seas often put those who work on such waters at risk. Fortunately, maritime workers are protected from having to bear the brunt of expenses that may arise from workplace accidents by the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act.
Whether it is a hot stove or heavy construction equipment, a large majority of industries pose some level of threat to employees. Even rush hour traffic presents some level of danger to the everyday nine-to-five New Yorker. Some industries, such as commercial fishing and other marine occupations, can threaten the lives of workers during each shift. Although jobs in the U.S. are reportedly getting safer, hazards can be an inherent part of this field of work.