If you work in a shipyard or a harbor or you’re a longshore worker, then you were likely taught about the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Act (LHWCA) when you were first trained for your job. They might not have gone into great detail about what it is and who’s eligible for protection under it though.
The LHWCA protects anyone who works in traditional maritime positions including as a ship-repairer, builder or breaker. It also covers harbor construction and longshore workers if they get hurt on the job. It protects individuals who generally don’t work in these roles, yet they were hurt while performing job-related tasks while in navigable waters as well.
Injuries must occur in U.S. navigable waters or along terminals, docks, wharves and piers to be covered by LHWCA. Incidents that occur in boat unloading or loading areas may also be covered.
A worker who is deemed to be protected by LHWCA is entitled to compensation for their injuries. They are entitled to compensated vocational rehabilitation and reimbursement for their medical care.
If a covered worker loses their life as a result of their on-the-job injuries, then their spouse is entitled to survivor benefits.
Workers in certain professions in similar industries are covered by additional legislation such as the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OSCLA), the Defense Base Act (DBA) and the Non-Appropriated Fund Instrumentalities Act (NAFIA).
The OSCLA covers those workers who work in the exploration of offshore natural resources such as oil. The DBA protects those who work directly for or who have a contractual relationship with the U.S. military. The NAFIA protects civilian workers at U.S. Armed Forces facilities.
Individuals who qualify to receive workers’ compensation in Louisiana generally aren’t covered by the LHWCA. Those working in certain maritime careers may not qualify for benefits under this act but can receive compensation under other pieces of legislation. An attorney can advise you what type of legislation applies to your case and how to make the most of your right to compensation.