This blog routinely focuses on Michigan’s workers’ compensation legislative scheme. For the vast majority of employees in the state, the local laws will govern his or her rights to benefits after a workplace injury. Federal laws, however, may also affect a worker’s right to compensation.
For instance, the federal Longshore and harbor Workers’ Compensation Act covers employees working in maritime professions on the country’s navigable waterways. This would include the great lakes, which covers large stretches of Michigan’s borders.
Unfortunately, budget shortfalls have hindered workers’ ability to recoup benefits under the Act. Cases falling under the jurisdiction of the Act are governed by a federal administrative judge. The judges handling these claims are not limited to Michigan, but must travel to coastal states, like Rhode Island and Maine as well. Budget cutbacks have reduced travel time and created a backlog of claims.
While President Obama has proposed an increase in the budget for this issue, it may not be enough to cure the long line of claims. As a result, a worker injured in a maritime profession may be left stranded with medical expenses and other bills, which he or she cannot pay because they cannot work.
Local Saginaw area workers’ compensation attorneys will not accept such a situation for their clients. These experts will aggressively pursue any option available to an injured worker. From a claim under Michigan law to a claim under federal law, local lawyers can help injured workers recoup lost wages, medical expenses or any other losses they may accrue.
Source: Bangor Daily News, “It’s Time to Support our Longshore Workers,” Aug. 7, 2014