A Federal statute - the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Act - provides a workers' compensation system for employees who work on navigable waterways. The statute provides benefits that are often better than the state workers' compensation system.
Employees that are covered by the statute include those who load and unload various ships. The statute also covers individuals who construct, repair, maintain and alter ships, so long as the work is being done on the waterfront. Certain workers engaged in construction along waterways are covered as well as employees on oil rigs. Under the Defense Base Act, the Longshore system is also used to provide benefits for civilian workers on a military base. Only civilians in the employment of a private contractor are covered by this act. If the civilian works for the Federal Government, the civilian comes under the Federal Employees Compensation Act - an entirely different statute with different rights and provisions. Whenever there is a question, an attorney should be consulted.
The two most important issues in a Longshore Act claim are giving an appropriate notice of injury, and getting a good medical specialist involved. The act has a provision which gives the employee the right to make a first choice of physicians. The first choice physician is given great weight, so choosing a qualified specialist is very important.
Tony Cortese has handled Longshore cases for more than twenty years. These types of cases have been a substantial part of his regular practice since 1993. His first cases were for employees who worked on barges on the rivers of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Most of our current longshore cases in Tampa are traditional cases, shipyard workers or longshoremen involved in shipping in the Tampa area. We've also handled non-traditional types of cases over the years including a nurse working on a defense base in Guam, a supervisor who worked on various oil rigs, and a maintenance employee who worked on a conveyor system that loaded ships. This office is available to assist anyone with any aspect of a Longshore claim, including determining whether a case is State or Longshore. We provide free initial consultations (in person or by telephone) to Florida or Pennsylvania residents that have covered injuries.