What is a 905(b) Claim?
The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) provides benefits for maritime workers injured on the job that are not covered under state workers’ compensation law and do not qualify as seaman under the Jones Act. LHWCA is a federal statute similar to state workers’ compensation programs in that the LHWCA bars injured employees from filing a lawsuit against their employer. However, there is an exception under the LHWCA which permits the injured worker to bring a tort claim in addition to workers’ compensation. This exception is 905(b) of the LHWCA.
Understanding 905(b) Claims
A 905(b) claim allows for injured workers to file a third party tort claim against a vessel owner if the injury was caused, at least in part, by the negligence of the vessel. Under 905(b) the third party vessel owner may also include the injured workers’ employer “in its capacity as a vessel owner” if the injured employee was not employed for the purpose of shipbuilding, repairing or breaking services.
Negligence of the vessel most often occurs in situations where 1) the vessel has a defect or 2) the vessel owner or crew was directly involved in causing or contributing to the injury. Vessel negligence does not include a longshoreman injured on a vessel by another longshoreman engaged in providing services to the vessel.
Identifying 905(b) claims can be difficult since they are very narrowly defined. That is why it is essential that you consult with an experienced and skilled attorney who specializes in maritime law. Many injured workers may assume that their only recourse is through workers’ compensation, but that is not always the case. Understanding this exception is important, as it provides an additional avenue for seeking compensation for an injury.
Hiring The Right Maritime Attorney Is Critical
Arnold & Itkin is one of the leading maritime law firms in the country. We have represented injured workers from all over the U.S. against some of the country’s largest companies. In fact, our firm represented more Deepwater Horizon crewmembers than any other firm in the nation. We offer free consultations to injured maritime workers to help them identify all of their avenues for legal recourse. If you have been injured, contact our team of maritime attorneys today to learn how we can help you.