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Can you recover damages if you're hurt while working at sea?

The Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act (LHWCA) was enacted to provide compensation to workers who were injured while on the job in the United States' navigable waters. Most any worker who becomes disabled is entitled to medical care, lost wages and vocational rehabilitation to help them cope with what they're going through. If a longshore worker dies from their injuries, their next of kin may be entitled to survivor's benefits.

This piece of federal legislation protects workers employed in traditional maritime occupations. Virtually anyone who works as a longshore or harbor construction worker or as a ship-repairer, builders or breaker is protected by this legislation.

A worker's injuries must have occurred in the navigable waters of the United States or on land nearby them for an employee's injuries to be covered though. This means that any worker injuries that occur along piers, docks, terminals, wharves and loading and unloading areas may be covered by the LHWCA. Any non-maritime employees who work within U.S. navigable waters or within the above-referenced proximate areas may be eligible for compensated medical care as well.

Some individuals aren't afforded LHWCA protections. Any seaman that is employed by a New York, U.S. or foreign government may be ineligible for benefits if they attempted to harm themselves or others or if they were hurt as a result of being intoxicated. The LHWCA also excludes individuals covered under state worker's compensation laws. This is especially the case if they were solely employed to perform secretarial, clerical, security, or data processing duties at the time that they became injured.

The Defense Base Act (DBA) is an extension of the LHWCA. It covers anyone who works for a private employer on a U.S. military base no matter whether it's located in a U.S. territory or possession or abroad. It also protects those who have been awarded public works or Foreign Assistance Act contracts and also individuals that are employed by private employers that provide welfare services to the military.

Many factors that can make working in a maritime profession quite unsafe. Fortunately, you may be entitled to recover medical and rehabilitation costs as well as lost wages if you've been injured in U.S. navigable waters or one of New York's many ports. A Longshore Act attorney in Manhattan can review your job and injury details and advise you of your right to file a claim.

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