Addressing Maritime and Business Law Issues Since 1989

Appeals Court ruling will impact maritime law for injured workers

| Sep 8, 2020 | Maritime Law |

In California, there is often disagreement as to whether maritime law for injured workers is applicable in certain circumstances. Because there is significant physical exertion in the work done by longshoremen, any issue can be problematic as they try to go about their tasks. Disputes about the Jones Act and Longshoreman’s and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act can be complicated. A recent decision by an Appeals Court gave workers an opening to file claims when they previously could not. This can be imperative for injured workers.

Lack of ability to perform job leads to benefits for injured worker

A longshoreman in California was embroiled in a dispute as to whether his pain was sufficient to warrant benefits under the law. The case began six years ago when he was in a tractor that was pulled up because it was still attached to a container when it was lifted by a crane. As the container separated from the crane, the tractor fell. He was diagnosed as having a compression fracture in his spine. He was given temporary total disability through mid-April 2016. He requested it be extended for another two years when he was given surgery for his back injury.

While he was supposedly recuperating from the back injury, he was said to have been operating a landscaping business. The company he worked for when he was injured had private investigators surveilling him. He was seen performing different types of physical labor leading to the company alleging that he was not sufficiently injured to receive benefits. Medical professionals who had assessed his case and said he was disabled changed their opinions after seeing the videos. His treating physician differed saying that despite his ability to perform the landscaping work, he could not do the longshoreman job. The case went back and forth until the appeal when the court decided that pain was enough to warrant disability.

Legal assistance for compensation based on the Harbor Workers Act

Longshoremen work in a physically demanding job that can result in injuries rendering them unable to perform the same duties as they did before. In many cases, insurers expect the worker to exhibit signs of injury and be unable to perform any kind of physical work because of it. This case indicates that severe pain after a documented injury is enough to get benefits under maritime law even if the person can do other types of activities. For those who are having an issue with their benefits after an injury, it may be helpful to consult with a law firm experienced in maritime cases as soon as possible.