905B Claims or "shore-based injury" claims are claims filed against a third party or party other than the employer. Those entitled to these benefits are workers who provide land-based maritime services. These services may include working in a shipyard such as shipbuilding, ship repair, or breaking services. As land-based employees, these workers often come into contact with ships and vessels owned by someone other than their employees. Therefore, if they become injured in conjunction with that vessel, then they may be able to file a claim against the ship's owner.
These are benefits listed under what is known as the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act (LHWCA). According to the United States Department of Labor, the LHWCA is a workers' comp program specialized to provide compensation for longshore and harbor workers who are injured in work-related accidents. Workers who were injured while working offshore as well as workers injured while working in "adjoining areas" such as loading, unloading, repairing, and building will qualify. If a worker is killed in a work-related accident offshore or at a shipyard/harbor, the surviving family members may be able to file claims for compensation and death benefits.
This type of claim is not available to those who were injured while providing stevedoring services. A stevedore is a dock worker that was employed to load or unload a vessel. Stevedores are responsible for operating a number of different types of loading equipment such as cranes and derricks. An example of something a stevedore might do would be to operate a crane to unload containers off of a cargo ship that is resting at port.
Stevedores are commonly contracted out rather than working for the terminal or a vessel operator. The terms "stevedore" and "longshoreman" are often wrongly interchanged. This can be confusing, since longshoreman may be able to recover compensation of the 905B nature while stevedores would not. Of course, other workers that are injured by their own negligence also will not be able to qualify for a 905B claim, since these claims can only be filed against negligent third-parties. Those who do not qualify will likely be covered by state workers' compensation laws.
Simply because you do not spend your working hours on the water, does not mean that you do not qualify for maritime-related benefits. Those who work in harbors, ports, and shipyards may qualify for maritime-type benefits as well, although not benefits under the Jones Act. The Jones Act is dedicated to providing benefits and protections specifically to workers who are employed on U.S. vessels in U.S. navigable waterways.
If you have questions regarding your status as a maritime worker, please do not hesitate to contact our firm to gain valuable information and insight. There are many dangers that beset harbor workers on a daily basis. While the dangers of the offshore industry are clearly known, there are many other, equally dangerous aspects of the ship repair and maintenance industry. Dock workers, utility workers, and shipyard workers can be exposed to dangerous vessels with damage such as protruding or falling parts, toxic chemicals that must be used to repair these vessels, and heavy loads/machinery. If you were injured while working in a land-based maritime occupation, you may be able to file a 905B claim. To learn more, please contact a maritime attorney at our firm today.
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