Longshore Workers’ Compensation

Longshoremen have a unique set of dangers that they face on the job. Because of the risks they face and the particular legalities of their work, they have a unique workers’ compensation system. If you have been injured on the job, contact one of our experienced Bay Area longshore workers’ compensation attorneys at the Law Office of Weltin, Streb and Weltin.

Working on the waterfront is one of the best jobs in America.  But the waterfront is also a dangerous place.  Marine terminals involve the constant movement of the heaviest equipment. Gantry cranes, transtainers, top picks, hustlers and independent contractor truckers.  An injury to one is and injury to all, and safety is a top priority but injuries do occur.  When a worker is injured on the waterfront we can help.  For over 40 years we have successfully represented workers injured on the waterfront.

Primarily, workers are entitled to claims under the United State Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA).  These are workers’ compensation claims administered under the auspices of the Department of Labor in the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP). Injured workers are not entitled to a jury trial or pain and suffering, but injured victims are entitled disability payments based on their average weekly wage and to be treated by the medical provider of his or her own choosing.  Often times, the employer, the employer’s insurance company or the employer’s third party adjusters will not pay the disability payments the injured worker is entitled to.  Other times, the employer or adjuster will arrange for medical treatment by a provider who is more interested in billing the self-insured maritime employer that providing fair treatment to the injured worker.

At no cost to the injured worker, we can help to ensure that the worker is paid correctly under the law and treated by a medical provider of his or her own choosing.  Further, maritime employers have a practice of denying even obvious injuries with accident reports in order to avoid paying for medical treatment and starting disability payments.  Under Section  4(b) of the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act compensation must be paid no matter who is at fault.  Under Section 20(a) of the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act it is presumed that an injury on the waterfront is covered by the Act and it is up to the employer to prove it did not happen or is not covered by the act (it must establish “substantial evidence to the contrary”).

Depending on the fact and circumstances, an accident on the waterfront may involve civil liability beyond solely the workers’compensation claim.  If there is an serious injury you are welcome to contact us so we can investigate the facts the injury.  Example of waterfront accidents where the possibility of civil companion case in addition to the longhsore workers’c ompsenation cases include accidents caused by independent contractor truck drivers where a longshoreman is injured, injuries caused by defective equipment or negligently maintained equipment, injuries caused by different corporations other than your employer.  Also, if you are injured on the ship maritime law may apply.  A vessel owner has the primary duty to turn her vessel over to the stevedore in a reasonably safe condition.  Scindia Steam Navigation Co. v. De Los Santos, 451 at 167.  The vessel does not have to be free of all hazards, but must be free of hazards that would not allow an experienced longshoreman or longshorewoman to work in a reasonably safe manner.  Under these circumstance a longshore worker can sure for damages in a statutory negligence action against the ship under 33 U.S.C. Sec. 905(b). An incident where a longshorman is injured could include leaving out hidden grease or other slipping hazard; an unlocked, unguarded, uncovered or open hatch that causes an injury, or a snapping line that causes and injury.

The categories of people who can be injured on the waterfront, at or by a marine terminal include.

  • Longshoremen
  • Walking bosses
  • Formen
  • Marine Clerks
  • Clerical Workers
  • Dry Dock Workers
  • Painters
  • Mechanics
  • Handlers
  • Crane Operators
  • Superintendents

Injuries that can occur on the waterfront, on or adjacent to a body of water that are covered under by the LHWCA include.

  • Death
  • Amputations
  • Paralysis
  • Broken bones
  • Fractures
  • Back injuries
  • Knee injuries
  • Shoulder injuries
  • Hand injuries
  • Feet injuries
  • Hearng loss
  • Repetitive trauma
  • Cumulative trauma
  • Toxic exposures
  • Benzene exposure
  • Asbestos exposure
  • Burns
  • Blindness
  • Traumatic Head or Brain injuries
  • Drowning

Dock workers and other maritime employees face some of the most hazardous working conditions in the country.  Longshore cases are often hotly disputed. In some cases, the employee’s eligibility for benefits under the LHWCA is in question by the employer or their insurance company.

The attorneys of Weltin, Streb & Weltin are experienced Oakland longshoreman workers’ compensation attorneys, and have helped injured maritime workers since 1972. We represent those injured while wokring at the Port of Oakland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Long Beach, Stockton, Sacramento and Tacoma.