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Who can file Longshore & Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act claims?

The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) was drafted to protect any worker who became disabled while working in the navigable waters of this country. It gives anyone who works in certain industries access to vocational rehabilitation services, medical care and reimbursement of lost wages.

Anyone who works in a traditional maritime occupation, including shipbuilders, breakers and repairers, is covered by the LHWCA. Those who work harbor construction and longshore workers qualify to receive benefits as well. Some non-maritime workers are also covered if their injuries occurred in the navigable waters.

Those who are excluded from receiving compensation under the LHWCA include foreign or U.S government employees and any seamen. Employees whose injuries are the result entirely of intoxication and employees whose injuries are self-inflicted are also not eligible for compensation under the LHWCA.

Individuals who simply work at the marina, but aren’t involved in the construction, expansion or replacement of it aren’t eligible to file an LHWCA claim if they have other workers’ compensation coverage. That generally excludes most retail workers, restaurant workers, security guards and others working in the marina.

People who work for third parties such as vendors, transporters or suppliers, and those employees temporarily working for a maritime employer but in a role not covered by the act are likely ineligible for an LHWCA claim.

Making sense of which employees are covered by the LHWCA isn’t easy because there are many exceptions and nuances to the law. Even if you determine that you don’t qualify for LHWCA, you may still be able to receive benefits under the Jones Act, Defense Base Act or another existing program. A Louisiana Longshore & Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act attorney can help you understand more about what applies to your specific situation.