Some of the most costly injuries that maritime workers have to contend with are workplace strain ones. A 2017 Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index study revealed that maritime employers paid out over $13.8 billion for overexertion injuries that year. Four types of injuries leave longshore workers incapacitated more often than others.
Paralysis is the result of an abnormality that occurs somewhere along the neurological path that sends signals from your brain to your muscles and vice versa. Because of the disruption of the neurological signals, you experience either a partial or complete loss of control over your muscles. According to the Cleveland Clinic, paralysis affects approximately 6 million people in the United States, including New York.
Those in Manhattan who work in the maritime industry likely understand that the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act offers them financial assistance if and when they are injured on the job. Yet exactly how far do those benefits extend. Oftentimes, a maritime accident affects not only the accident victim, but their families as well. The effect of an injury may make it impossible for one to enjoy the same type of relationship with family members again (particularly with their spouses). In such a case, are there benefits made available to a maritime worker's spouse.
The great benefit of the Longshore Act is that it protects people who work on Manhattan docks or on the navigable waters of the United States if they should suffer injury. However, some in New York may wonder how far the Longshore Act goes in offering help to injured maritime workers. What exactly does this law mean by injury? Fortunately, the U.S. government explains how the Longshore Act defines injury, and thus makes it clear who can be compensated by this law.
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.