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Does an occupational disease qualify for benefits from the LHWCA?

As a longshoreman or harbor worker, you work long hours in less-than-ideal conditions. Yet, you love working with your hands and being outside on the water. You are not the type of person who could sit behind a desk all day. You enjoy your job, but there is no denying your work is physically demanding and puts you at risk for injury.

Working in this environment often causes injuries, but sometimes injuries are not immediately apparent. You could have an occupational disease.

What is an occupational disease?

Occupational diseases occur when you are exposed to something unsafe in your work environment. The exposure may be to something physical, biological or chemical. The repeated exposure causes the injury.

For longshore workers, an occupational disease could include loss of hearing, chronic back pain, heart conditions, stress-related conditions or even diseases caused by exposure to chemicals.

The LHWCA protects harbor workers

The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) protects workers like longshoreman and other harbor workers like shipbuilders, ship repairers and shipbreakers. If you are injured while on the navigable waters of the U.S. or in an adjoining area, the LHWCA provides compensation and care for your recovery.

An occupational disease is considered an injury

The definition of "injury" under LHWCA includes occupational diseases. Though it is harder to prove an occupational disease claim, these injuries are covered under the LHWCA.

If you are suffering from an occupational disease you acquired while working on the harbor, you may want to consider reaching out an attorney with experience representing injured harbor workers. An attorney can help you build a case and pursue just compensation for your injury.

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