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Articles Tagged with Longshore

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hearing-protection-1532036Hearing loss under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, as extended by the Defense Base Act, is compensated under Section 8(c)(13) as a scheduled injury, resulting in a scheduled award. It is a traumatic injury in that the harm occurs immediately upon exposure.

Hearing loss is determined by the use of a professional audiologist who will perform an audiogram. The audiogram will show the percentage loss of hearing in each ear, and that can then be used to determine your overall hearing loss.

There are two types of hearing loss under Section 8(c)(13). The first is monaural hearing loss, which simply means a loss of hearing in one ear. A 100% loss of hearing in one ear results in 52 weeks of compensation at the appropriate compensation rate. For example, if you have a 30% loss of hearing in one ear only, you will be paid for 15.6 weeks of compensation at the appropriate compensation rate(30% of 52 weeks).

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If you are a longshoreman, or are covered under the Defense Base Act (DBA) extension, and are injured on the job, you will be entitled to compensation for missed time from work (lost wages) due to your injuries. The Longshore compensation system is based off of your earnings for the fifty-two (52) weeks of earnings prior to your accident. Different rules apply to five (5) day and six (6) day workers. It is very important to reach an accurate calculation of your average weekly wage, as this will determine the amount of your disability benefits.

There are four (4) types of disability for which a longshoreman can be paid for lost wages under the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act (LHWCA) (as well as the extensions under the Defense Base Act):

1. Permanent total disability: A claimant establishes a case of permanent total disability when he demonstrates that the injuries or illness prevent him from returning to his prior job. At that point, the claimant has established a prima facie case, and the burden shifts to the employer to prove suitable alternate employment. Suitable alternate employment means any employment that the employee, given his age, education, background, restrictions and limitations could secure, if he diligently tried. The employer must point to actual, not theoretical, jobs to establish suitable alternate employment. If such suitable alternate employment is proved by the employer, then the claimant’s disability is characterized as a permanent partial disability. Compensation is then calculated as two-thirds of the difference between the claimant’s pre-injury average weekly wage versus his post-accident average weekly wage in the suitable alternate employment.

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Ammunition offloadIt is vitally important to calculate the average weekly wage (AWW) following an on the job injury in a Defense Base Act (DBA) claim.  It is of utmost importance that the AWW be calculated correctly, because the AWW controls how much money you will receive from the insurance carrier following an accident. Moreover, the AWW can significantly impact the value of any settlement received in a DBA claim.

Section 10 of the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act provides three methods of calculating the AWW.  Section 10(a) deals with five day a week workers, and Section 10(b) deals with six day a week workers. As most overseas workers are logging in seven day a week work schedules, we will not address those two sections here. However, the Act provides a third method of calculating the AWW, found in Section 10(c):

“If either [subsection 10(a) or 10(b)] cannot reasonably and fairly be applied, such average annual earnings shall be such sum as, having regard to the previous earnings of the injured employee and the employment in which he was working at the time of his injury, and of other employees of the same or most similar class working in the same or most similar employment in the same or neighboring locality, or other employment of such employee, including the reasonable value of the services of the employee if engaged in self-employment, shall reasonably represent the annual earning capacity of the injured employee.” Continue reading →

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