Mississippi Longshore Accidents and Injuries – What Does An Injured Worker Have To Prove?
An individual seeking benefits under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act must, as an initial matter, establish an injured was suffered and it was an “accidental injury…arising out of and in the course of employment.” 33 U.S.C. §902(2). Bath Iron Works Corp. v. Brown, 194 F.3d 1, 4 (1st Cir. 1999). In determining whether an injury arose out of and in the course of employment, the Claimant is assisted by Section 20(a) of the Act, which creates a presumption that a claim comes within its provisions. 33 U.S.C. § 920(a).
The Claimant establishes a prima facie case by proving that harm or pain was suffered and that working conditions existed which could have caused, aggravated or accelerated the harm. Rainey v. Director, OWCP, 517 F.2d 632, 634 (2nd Cir. 2008) citing Am. Stevedoring Ltd. v. Marinelli, 248 F.3d 54, 64-65 (2nd Cir. 2001); Murphy v. S.C.A./Shayne Brothers, 7 BRBS 309 (1977) aff’d mem. 600 F.2d 280 (D.C. Cir. 1979); Kelaita v. Triple A Mach. Shop, 13 BRBS 326 (1981); Merrill v. Todd Pacific Shipyards Corp., 25 BRBS 140 (1991). In presenting a case, the Claimant is not required to introduce affirmative evidence that the working conditions in fact caused the harm; rather, the Claimant must show that working conditions existed which could have caused the harm. U.S. Industries/Federal Sheet Metal, Inc., v. Dir., OWCP (Riley), 455 U.S. 608 (1982). In establishing that an injury is work-related, the Claimant need not prove that the employment-related exposures were the predominant or sole cause of the injury.