In an unpublished decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals
for the Fourth Circuit ruled that the one-year statute of limitations under the Longshore
and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act (LHWCA) does not commence to run until the claimant knew or had reason to know that the injury was likely to impair his earning capacity. In the instant case, plaintiff hook man injured his
back while working in a shipyard in 1993. He was temporarily out of work, but then worked regularly for four years, but while seeing a doctor, who noted that the condition was gradually worsening. In 1997, plaintiff
underwent a nerve block procedure and then filed a disability claim.
Defendant shipyard contended that plaintiff knew more than one year previously that his back injury would impair his earning capacity. Over the vigorous objection of one judge, the court held that, until his doctor scheduled him for the nerve block procedure, plaintiff had no reason to know that his back condition would impair his earning capacity. Newport News Shipbuilding
and Dry Dock Company
Source: HK Law