With the expansion of the ports, the likelihood of longshoreman injuries increases. While you may be aware of the Longshoreman’s and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA), this is not the only legal option that injured longshoremen have in their cases. Longshoremen must also be aware of the Georgia Workers’ Compensation Act (GWCA), another option in certain cases.
In 1972, the United States Supreme Court ruled that longshoremen with “landbased” injuries, under certain circumstances, may be eligible for either state workers’ compensation or workers’ compensation under the LHWCA. Over 20 years later, the Georgia Court of Appeals expanded that ruling to permit an employee loading and unloading cargo at a dock who was injured on a ship to recover under the GWCA, even though he had previously recovered workers’ comp under the LHWCA. In circumstances like the one described above, injured longshoremen have the option of choosing to pursue workers’ comp under either the GWCA or the LHWCA. This is what workers’ compensation lawyers call concurrent jurisdiction or when two or more court systems have the power to hear your case.
For the option of state or LHWCA workers’ comp, your case must have certain characteristics. First your injury should be “land-based” or “maritime but local”. This can concern injuries sustained on land and adjoining areas. Next, if your injury is on a ship, it should involve an injured person and employer who are both Georgia citizens, a local employment contract, and an employment relationship subject to Georgia’s control. These are a few factors that could weigh in your favor. However, every case is different. So, be sure to inquire about these details with your lawyer.
If you or a family member has been injured as a longshoreman or longshorewoman in a land-based injury or other circumstance discussed in this article, the Mance Law Group can help you. For more information, call 912.574.4529 (4LAW).