The work that longshore and dock workers do is both important and dangerous. If you suffered an injury while working on or near navigable waters, you may be able to obtain compensation through the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act (LHWCA).
The LHWCA provides benefits to longshore workers, ship builders, harbor construction workers, and others who are injured on the job, as well as their families if their injuries result in death. The compensation available will depend on how long the injury lasts and what it prevents the worker from doing.
To discuss the benefits available through the LHWCA, we urge you to contact the experienced maritime wrongful death attorneys at Rivkind Margulies & Rivkind, P.A. When you call today, you can receive a free initial case evaluation, so reach out to our offices right now at (305) 204-5369.
What is the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act?
In 1927, Congress passed the LHWCA into law, where it can be found under 33 U.S.C. §§ 901-950. The LHWCA provides compensation for lost payment, medical treatment, and rehabilitative services for employees who are injured at work on or near navigable waters. The same legislation also applies to compensate the worker’s family if they die as a result of their injury
When Does LHWCA Coverage Apply?
As mentioned, the LHWCA applies to all workers who work on or near navigable waters. Practically, LHWCA coverage will benefit all longshore workers, ship builders, ship breakers, and ship repairers, as well as harbor construction workers.
To benefit from LHWCA coverage, the worker must have sustained their injury on navigable waters or adjoining areas. Any body of water that is or could be regularly used for maritime trade or travel will be considered navigable water for the purposes of the LHWCA. Adjoining areas of navigable waters may include piers, docks, harbors, terminals, wharves, and maritime loading areas. If you are not a maritime worker but suffer your injuries while working in navigable waters, the LHWCA will likely still apply in your situation.
There are certain parties that are excluded from coverage under the LHWCA for various reasons. Some of the excluded classifications of workers may include:
- Crewmembers of a ship (see Jones Act below)
- Employees of the U.S. government
- Employees whose injuries were caused by their own intoxication or willful intent
- Certain types of employees who are also covered by a state workers’ compensation law, such as marina workers who are not tasked with maintenance or construction efforts
What is the Difference Between the LHWCA and the Jones Act?
If you are looking into ways to be compensated for a maritime work injury, it is likely that you may have encountered the Jones Act. The Jones Act was passed in 1920 and created, among other things, a set of rights for “masters or members of crew of any vessel.”
The benefits provided by the LHWCA and the Jones Act do not apply to the same groups of workers. The Jones Act focuses only on crewmembers of ships, whereas the LHWCA focuses on workers that are not crewmembers but nevertheless involved in maritime work.
This distinction may be blurred based on the type of work that the injured party does. To determine whether your recovery should go through the Jones Act, the LHWCA, or some other legislation such as the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (or OCSLA, which applies to employees working on offshore drilling locations), it is in your best interest to discuss your specific case with a Port of Miami workplace injury lawyer.
What Compensation is Available Through the LHWCA?
LHWCA guarantees that injured workers will receive compensatory payment through their employer (or more likely, the insurance provider that they use). This payment will be based on the nature of the injury suffered, the medical treatment required to deal with it, and how the injury will affect the worker’s ability to do their job. As such, the amount that one can receive through LHWCA coverage can vary substantially.
The main factor that will determine what compensation an injured worker will receive through the LHWCA is how their injury fits the definition of a disability. Coverage will vary depending on whether the injury constitutes a partial or total disability. Total disabilities are those that prevent the employee from doing any work at all. Partial disabilities are those that prevent the worker from doing the same work that they were doing before the injury, but still allow the worker to do other forms of work, either with the same employer or a different one.
Coverage also varies depending on whether the disability is temporary or permanent. Temporary disabilities prevent the victim from working until they fully recuperate from the injury. Permanent disabilities are those where the victim has recovered as fully as they can be expected to, but still are unable to work.
In any case, you will likely need a doctor’s certification to determine which category you fit into. For more information about the compensation available for your condition, reach out to a seasoned Florida workplace injury attorney.
How Do You Report a Claim Under the LHWCA?
The first step that you should take after any maritime workplace injury is to get medical care. Your doctor will evaluate your injuries and provide you with notice that you can give to your employer to show that the doctor told you to stay home from work. Your employer may then report the injury to their insurance provider, but if they do not, then your maritime workplace injury attorney can contact the claims adjuster on your behalf.
The official form for reporting an injury under the LHWCA is Form LS-201, which should be filed with the U.S. Department of Labor. It is important that you fill out the form completely and accurately before sending it, so it may be wise to enlist the help of a maritime workplace injury lawyer with your effort.
Our Maritime Workplace Injury Lawyers Can Answer Your LHWCA Questions Today
To get a free first-time case assessment from the Gulf Coast workplace injury attorneys at Rivkind Margulies & Rivkind, P.A., call our offices today at (305) 204-5369.