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Longshore and Harbor Workers Act Claims and Defense Base Act


           Longshore claims cover more than just longshoremen.  If you are injured on or near navigable waters you are entitled to seek benefits under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act.  This law provides the injured worker with more benefits than he or she would receive under his or her applicable state workers’ compensation law.  This is especially the case for an employee injured in the state of Florida.  It is therefore important to know if you are entitled to longshore benefits. 


           You do not have work on a wharf, pier or the sea to be covered by the longshore law.  The law has been extended to repairmen in a workshop a mile from the waterfront who are working on a ship’s gear.  If you are not on the navigable water, but your employment is connected to maritime activities then you could be entitled to longshore benefits.  As lawyers with this experience at DeCiccio & Johnson we can investigate these legal issues.


           The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act also has what are called extensions.  If you work for a private employer on a defense base (Defense Base Act) either in the United States or abroad then you are covered by an extension of the longshore law.  If you work on an oil platform more than three miles from shore you are covered by an extension to the longshore law.


           What benefits are you entitled to?  Some of them are:  (1) Your choice of doctor to treat your work-related condition including any change of physician.  (2) Treatment for any aggravation of a pre-existing condition.  (3) Payment of lost wages for any disability whether temporary, permanent, partial or total.  (4) A scheduled award for some types of injuries.  In nearly all cases these benefits exceed the benefits of a worker injured in Florida who has to file a state claim as opposed to a longshore claim.  For instance, a worker in a state claim does not get to select his initial doctor or the doctor for his change of physician.  The insurance company gets to select the doctor.  Thus if you do not like the initial doctor all you get is another doctor selected by the insurance company rather than your choice of doctor.


           Lost wage benefits are also more generous in longshore claims than state of Florida claims.  In the state workers’ compensation claims, temporary benefits are capped at two years.  In longshore claims, you can receive five years of temporary benefits.  These are benefits received during the healing period.  While this my seem like a long time, if you have back surgery or multiple injuries from your accident the two years can come before you know it.  Your lost wage benefits are then cut off even if you are still out of work or are earning less on light duty.


           Many longshore claims go unfiled because the injured worker does not know he can pursue longshore benefits.  We at DeCiccio & Johnson will evaluate your workers’ compensation claim to see what law pertains to your case to maximize your benefits.  We will aggressively represent you in pursuing these benefits to compensate you for all benefits provided under the law.

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