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Michael Lawrence Varon, PLLC Michael Lawrence Varon, PLLC
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White Plains Dock Worker Injury Lawyer

Jobs involving work on and around ships in New York can be extremely dangerous, whether you are responsible for the maintenance of a large vessel or for loading and unloading ships at a port of entry and exit. Dock workers, or longshoremen, often engage in dangerous tasks as part of their job duties. For example, dock workers frequently are required to operate cranes to load and unload cargo, or to operate forklifts in order to move cargo in a port area. Dock workers are also required to do substantial heavy lifting and to keep the doc facilities clean.

Dock workers need to have the ability to perform tasks that involve physical labor, and they regularly are at risk of serious injuries on the job. Most dock workers in New York who get hurt on the job, may be eligible to receive compensation through the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA).

Understanding How the LHWCA Can Help Dock Workers

What is the LHWCA, and how does it compensate dock workers for injuries? The LHWCA is a federal law, and it provides compensation for an injured dock workers’ lost wages, medical care, and any necessary vocational rehabilitation following a debilitating injury. It is important to understand the distinction between the LHWCA and the Jones Act. If you are a longshoreman, you might have heard other people discussing the possibility of compensation through the Jones Act, but this particular law typically is not relevant for dock workers.

The LHWCA covers workers who are involved in maritime occupations, including dock workers, ship repairers, ship builders, and construction workers at a port or harbor. Differently, the Jones Act, or the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, covers workers who are classified as “seaman.” In most cases, the LHWCA covers workers who do maritime work on land, while the Jones Act covers workers who perform services at sea.

The LHWCA specifically excludes seamen from eligibility for benefits. Indeed, the LHWCA and the Jones Act are mutually exclusive.

Common Dock Worker Injuries in New York

What are some of the most common types of injuries experienced by dock workers in New York? According to an article published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, longshoremen can sustain many different types of injuries, including illnesses, acute traumatic injuries, and repetitive motion injuries.

Common injuries affecting dock workers include but are not limited to the following:

  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI);
  • Spinal cord injury (SCI);
  • Back and shoulder injury;
  • Amputations;
  • Burn injuries;
  • Injuries from falls;
  • Struck-by injuries; and
  • Toxic exposure injuries.

Since dock workers are regularly around heavy machinery and dangerous materials, performing regular job duties can be risky. In addition, musculoskeletal injuries as a result of heavy lifting regularly affect longshoremen and prevent them from working.

Obtaining LHWCA Benefits in New York

To obtain benefits under the LHWCA, injured workers must report the injury to the employer as soon as possible. The federal benefits under the LHWCA are somewhat similar to those under New York workers’ compensation law. Injured dock workers can be eligible to receive 66 2/3 of lost wages due to a work-related disability, as well as benefits to cover medical expenses.

Contact a Dock Worker Injury Lawyer in New York

Filing an LHWCA claim can be complicated, but a New York dock worker injury attorney can help. Contact the Law Office of Michael Lawrence Varon for more information about how we can assist you.

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