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Injured longshoremen can receive workers' compensation benefits

Longshoremen do hard work, loading and unloading cargo from ships in Connecticut's ports. This work is not without risks either, as longshoremen must deal with massive cargo, heavy machinery and large ships. Sometimes this combination results in injured workers.

Fortunately, injured longshoremen are eligible for workers' compensation benefits through the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act or the LHWCA. Under this federal law, when workers are injured on the job whether it's in navigable waters of the United States or in the areas used to load, unload and repair ships, they may qualify to receive medical care and compensation for their injuries and vocational rehabilitation services.

The injuries that may be covered extend beyond what may seem obvious, such as a crushing injury from a machinery accident. It could also include hearing loss and other occupational diseases stemming from employment in this field.

In addition to longshoremen, harbor construction workers, shipbuilders, ship-repairers and ship-breakers are also covered under the LHWCA; however, to be covered, the injuries must have occurred either in the United States' navigable waters or the adjoining wharves, piers, docks, terminals or other adjoining areas. Furthermore, if a non-maritime employee is performing work in one of these areas and is injured, he or she may also be covered under the LHWCA.

The LHWCA does exclude certain workers from coverage such as seamen and employees of the United States government. Certain other workers may be excluded if they are covered under an individual state's workers' compensation coverage.

Longshoremen who have been injured on the job in a workplace accident or have suffered from an occupational disease may find it worthwhile to seek legal guidance regarding available workers' compensation coverage.

Source: United States Department of Labor, "Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act Frequently Asked Questions," accessed July 31, 2015

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