Understanding The Longshore And Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA)
Maritime workers often perform exhausting work under hazardous conditions. When accidents or injuries occur, you and your family deserve a financial safety net.
Fortunately, federal law provides two main sources of protection: the Jones Act and the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act.
What’s The Difference?
- The Jones Act is limited to “seamen” who work primarily aboard a vessel in navigable waters.
- The LHWCA covers maritime workers who don’t fit the definition of “seamen-.” These workers may spend their time on shore — at a harbor, wharf, shipping terminal or shipyard — or they may work aboard fixed oil rigs and other offshore installations that don’t qualify as “vessels.”
Learn more about maritime law and how it might affect your rights.
What Protections Does The LHWCA Provide?
As its name reflects, the LHWCA establishes workers’ compensation benefits for certain employees in the maritime industry. Your employer must provide benefits (usually through its insurer) if you get injured or killed in connection with your job, regardless of who was at fault. These benefits may include:
- Wage replacement
- Medical benefits
- Disability benefits
- Rehabilitation/retraining benefits
- Death benefits (for surviving family members)
Generally, you’ll receive better benefits under the LHWCA than you would through a state workers’ comp claim. However, in some situations, there may be an advantage to filing a state claim while your federal claim is pending.
What’s Your Claim Worth?
The amount you’ll receive depends on your wages as well as the extent of your injury. For this reason, it’s critical to obtain thorough documentation of your injuries. Medical evidence can make or break your case.
Making The Most Of Your Right To Compensation
Getting benefits under the LHWCA isn’t always easy. There are strict deadlines and detailed requirements for submitting a claim. You can’t count on your employer (or their insurance company) to go to bat for you.
After reporting the injury — the first crucial step — you should seek prompt medical treatment. Then, speak to a lawyer who understands this area of law.
We’re Here When You Need Us Most
You can find out more about your rights during a free consultation with our team at the law firm of Larry Curtis. Because we have decades of experience helping injured maritime workers navigate these claims, we have an in-depth level of understanding that you won’t find at general personal injury firms. Attorney Larry Curtis can help you pursue the right strategy for getting the benefits you need, fast.
Remember: If you get injured on the job, notify your employer right away. You may give up important rights if you fail to do so.