Abbott Clay & Reed

Posts Tagged ‘LHWCA’

What Types of Monetary Compensation Would My Family and I Be Able to Request if I was Injured While Performing My Duties at Sea?

In Jones Act Law, LHWCA, Maritime on July 17, 2009 at 7:44 PM

The Longshoremen’s and Harbors’ Workers Compensation Act (LHWCA) provides adequate compensation for seaman who are injured in their line of work.  This coverage provides payments for medical treatment, travel costs related to medical treatment, and services or supplies which are needed to help the recovery or treatment process.  There is, of course, a lot of legality that comes into play and seeking the help of a professional maritime lawyer will always be a good first step to take.

The definition of disability in a longshoreman clause simply means the inability to perform work and receive pre-injury wages.  This covers any form of disability which will entitle you to receive a weekly compensation every two weeks and will be based from a percentage of your biweekly income before you were injured.  In 2006, it was estimated that the minimum compensation was $278.61 while the maximum was $1114.44.

The compensation for complete or short term disability is calculated at 2/3s the workers weekly average income.  This average is determined by combining the previous 52 weeks of income.  This, of course, could mean that your average might be considerably less if you suffered any periods of unemployment.

Temporary partial disability is compensated at 2/3s the weekly income loss and is based on the loss of earning potential.  Permanent partial disability compensation is intended to cover the injured employee for the loss of a body part or function.  This form of compensation is based on the payout schedule that is specified in the Longshoreman Act.  Basically this schedule appoints a specified timeline as to how long the injured employee may receive compensation.

The LHWCA has worked to get people the coverage they need when working at sea.  There are still a lot of uncovered issues surrounding these matters and you will need to speak with a maritime law professional to get the most compensation for your injury.

How Many Times Has the Jones Act Been Amended Since Its Creation?

In Jones Act History, Jones Act Law, Legal Representation on July 11, 2009 at 7:35 PM

Since the inception of the Jones Act in 1920 there has been a need for this federal law to be clarified more specifically.  This act does set guidelines for maritime law; however, since the recent advancements in modern day life, there has been a need to reform this law time and time again.

After this bill was passed there was much controversy over how to define seamen and who would be protected by its statutes.  In 1927 Congress tried to clear this controversy up through the passage of the Longshoremen’s and Harbor Workers Compensation Act (LHWCA).  This amendment still left dozens of unanswered questions.  However, it did work to realize sailors were no longer the primary loaders and un-loaders of ships and that dockworkers had taken over this responsibility.  Although this extension now excluded any crew members of vessels so there was still much to decide after this amendment.

This debate would always resurface and lawsuits would arise such as the South Chicago Coal & Dock Co. v. Bassett case which led to Congress passing the declaration of a seaman not being defined if their duties did not pertain to the ships navigation.  This amendment only left more confusion and was begging for another reform.

A court case in 1955, Gianfala v. Texas Co, saw the Supreme Court state the definition of a seaman would be determined by the jury.  The specification of a “seaman” came to include laborers on floating oil drilling platforms and dredges. There was still too much grey area in a very serious matter that was growing with each passing year and the result was an eruption of Jones Act litigation.  This also led to nearly 100,000 Jones Act lawsuits in a ten year period between 1975 and 1985.

In 1995 the Supreme Court would finally make a better conclusion as to the defining of a modern seaman.  But, after a long bout of people demanding a reform for the maritime law, this amendment was still was not enough.

There has been much debate over this matter and until the Supreme Court can clearly define what makes a sailor a sailor there will be controversy surrounding this maritime law.

What Are Considered Reasonable Requests Under the Jones Act?

In Jones Act Law, Maritime on July 4, 2009 at 7:40 PM

When you are employed as a seaman, you are protected in the event of an injury under federal law ruling and the Jones Act.  The right for a seaman that is injured during a period of employment is called “maintenance and cure”.  This basically defines medical benefits – known as cure – and living expenses – known as maintenance.

Being a seaman, the medical benefits you are entitled to cover hospitalization, physical therapy, doctors visits (or medical care), medication, and the facilitation of medical equipment.  If you are a seaman and are in need of any of these instances due to your employment as a seaman, your employer is required to cover these payments – end of story.

If unable to work as a result of an injury or work related health endangerment, a seaman is also entitled to payments for everyday living expenses which include:

– Grocery Bills

– Utility Bills

– Cosmetic and Toiletry Expenses

– Any Other Reasonable Expenses

The only reason any of this is possible is due, in part, to the Longshoremen’s and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act of 1927.  This recognized that people were in need of a federal law to ensure seamen were protected in the same way as everyone else.  This was even more important because there are countless things that could go wrong while out at sea thus making employment at sea extremely dangerous even under the safest conditions.

Sadly, not every employer is going to adhere to the guidelines and practices of the Jones Act.  Due to there being so many uncovered issues with the maritime law, employers have the power to find loopholes in the act and the amendments.  When dealing with any maritime law, especially in affiliation with the Jones Act, you will always want to receive consultation and be represented by a maritime law professional.  An employer of seamen is required to support the legality of the Jones Act and, without proper representation; the employer could very well try to cheat you out of these compensations.

Will My Family Be Entitled to Adequate Benefits if I Am Injured or Killed While Working at Sea?

In Jones Act Law, Legal Representation, LHWCA, Maritime on June 26, 2009 at 7:46 PM

The Jones Act, with help from the Longshoremen’s and Harbors’ Workers Compensation Act, helps bring financial security to dependents of seamen who lose their life at sea.  This compensation extends to any dependants on that income and has been mandated to meet the needs of a seaman’s spouse, children, and family.  Due to the high risks and life threatening environment these workers find themselves in on a daily basis, you can see the need for some form of legal protection over these matters.

Knowing what your rights are and getting the most compensation in the tragic event of losing a loved one at sea is something everyone should be entitled to.  The federal law recognizes this, even if sometimes an employer doesn’t.  If you are dependent on someone that is risking their life every time they go to work, you need to know that, if something were to happen, you are going to be taken care of after the grieving is over.

The system is basically designed to give percentages of your weekly wages to qualifying, dependant family members.  The death benefits that surround maritime law are not the most amazing compensation; however, the employers are required to compensate until the family member in question can achieve financial independence, be remarried, or turn 18.  There is even a $3000 dollar funeral expense that is covered under maritime law.

A surviving spouse is eligible to receive half of the weekly wage earned by the seaman.  If there are children involved, then this compensation obviously increases.  This is worked out by compensating the surviving dependants with half of the seaman’s weekly wage.  If you have more than one child you are eligible to get 2/3s the weekly income.  This will be paid until the child, or children, turn 18.  There are specific circumstances that see this get extended, but is normally on a case by case basis.