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Understanding the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act

On Behalf of | Dec 2, 2023 | Longshoremen and Harbor Worker Injuries

Private mariners and seamen who are injured on the job are entitled to coverage and benefits under the Jones Act. However, that’s only if they spend at least 30% of their time on a “vessel in navigation.”

What about the rest? All those who don’t qualify for benefits through the Jones Act may look to the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA), instead. Here are three things you should know about these important entitlements:

Who is covered by the LHWCA?

The LHWCA covers shipbuilders, harbor construction workers, ship repairers and longshoremen – among others. Any worker who suffers an injury on U.S. waters or on adjoining areas (such as piers and docks) may be covered. It even covers crane operators, truck drivers and others who are involved in loading and unloading vessels at port.

What benefits does the LHWCA provide?

Covered workers who get injured or sick from occupational diseases are entitled to medical care, disability compensation and vocational rehabilitation. If a worker dies, their dependents may be entitled to survivor’s benefits. Disability compensation is typically based on a percentage of the workers’ average weekly wages.

How do you file a LHWCA claim?

If you’re injured or sickened while on the job, it’s important to notify your supervisor or employer as soon as you can. You must also file a claim with the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs to obtain benefits. You can be time-barred from making a claim if you delay filing beyond one year.

If you’ve been injured while working on or near U.S. waters and you aren’t sure what benefits you may qualify to receive or how to obtain them, experienced legal guidance can help.