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.
According to The International Risk Management Institute, a long line of courts failing to provide workers compensation benefits — along with the failure of state workers compensation statutes in addressing longshore issues — led to the creation of the 1927 Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act. Under this law, any maritime employee who suffers an injury, disability or death while on U.S. waters receives compensation and medical benefits. One issue that arose, however, involved the LHWCA’s failure to outline jurisdictional boundaries; courts were unable to determine what situations applied to workers compensation law. Third-party-over actions were another common problem the industry faced after the passing of the LHWCA.
New Yorkers who have suffered an injury on the job may feel overwhelmed at the many details of the Longshore Act, especially when it comes to the types of situations covered. The U.S. Department of Labor explains that, while it is important that employees report an accident within 30 days to ensure entitlement to compensation benefits, there are some exceptions. Those whose injuries were a result of intoxication on the job are excluded from the LHWCA; seamen and employees of the U.S. government are also excluded.
Back to concerns on the statute of limitations, there may be exceptions if a worker fails to report the incident within 30 days, but doing so will not prevent an employee from getting proper medical care. Employers may also express an understanding in regard to a late report. The fine print of the LHWCA can certainly seem endless, but workers can have the peace of mind that laws are in effect that protect them on a daily basis.