Longshoreman, seaman, and other marine workers have long worked some of the most dangerous jobs in the United States. Anybody who has read Herman Melville’s Moby Dick knows that sailors can be killed or injured in a number of ways, each more gruesome than the last. It is easy to drown or to be crushed under the weight of a large pile of crates or boxes. Longshoremen face similar risks, as do maritime workers toiling offshore on oil platforms, boats, cargo ships or along docks, sea terminals, and rivers. Nobody was more devastated by sailors’ and longshoremen’s deaths or injuries than their families, who were thrust into abject poverty after these catastrophes. Without longshore harbor workers compensation, many of them either starved or turned to the poor houses.
To protect these marine workers and their families, Congress passed the Merchant Seaman Protection and Relief Act of 1920, which guaranteed sailors and longshore harbor workers compensation in the event of their injury or death. If the worker is injured, he must wait for three days (a length of time mandated by the Longshore and harbor workers compensation Act) until he and his family can file maritime claims which would allow the worker and his family to collect longshore workers compensation or Jones Act compensation (as it is sometimes known). However, if the worker perished in the accident, his family must file their claims under the Defense Base Act, which grants longshore harbor workers compensation to the dead man’s family. Because these provisions are extremely complicated, many families enlist a Dba attorney to help them secure longshore harbor workers compensation more quickly. These longshore harbor workers compensation benefits include (but are not limited to) reasonable funeral expenses, which often cover funerals up to three thousand dollars, and pension pay based on the worker’s average weekly wages.