Maritime Workers’ Compensation Act

An Overview Of The Longshore And Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act

Employees of the sea, such as harbor workers, longshoremen and many other individuals who work at shipyards and/or docks, often have difficult job duties to perform. That being the case, there are occasions when a sea worker might sustain some sort of injury while performing his or her job duties. If that occurs, it is important for the injured individual to contact a legal representative as soon as possible learn more about the legal options that may be available, depending on the facts and circumstances of the incident.

One thing that maritime workers should take note of is the fact that they may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits under the law. More specifically, the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) provides benefits for certain kinds of employees.

Who Does the LHWCA Cover?

The Act offers occupational disease and employment injury protection to any and all qualified harbor workers and longshoremen. What that means is that maritime employees who work on harbors and/or longshore operations, as well as those who unload, load, repair and/or build vessels, or work in general construction are generally covered by the Act. However, individuals who load, unload and/or repair vessels that are under a certain tonnage, those who work as clerical staff, government workers and workers on marinas who do not take part in the expansion or construction of those marinas will not be covered under the Act.

Some people may wonder whether or not the benefits provided under the LHWCA are better than those provided under their state’s workers’ compensation program. Typically, the benefits offered under the LHWCA will be more advantageous to injured employees than the benefits offered by the state. Accordingly, injured workers are strongly encouraged to work with attorneys who handle issues in order to determine their eligibility.

Do You Meet the Tests?

Injured workers might only be entitled to benefits under the LHWCA if they meet both the location and status tests. With regard to the “location” test, in order for an employee to be covered under the Act, he or she must work near, on or adjacent to navigable waters that are covered under the law. That means that individuals who perform their job duties for at least a portion of their work hours on wharves, dry docks, terminals, piers or certain other areas will typically be able to meet the “location” requirement.

The other test that a maritime worker must meet is the “status” test. One’s status concerns the nature of the work that he or she does for an employer.  What is important is that the worker perform “maritime” job duties, and in order for an employee to be eligible under the Act for benefits, those sea-specific job duties must comprise some part of the work done for the employer.

Available Benefits

Once it has been determined that an individual is entitled to benefits under the Act, he or she may receive disability compensation (if certain factors exist) and medical care. Additionally, family members may be entitled to receive death benefits.

If you or someone you love is a maritime worker who has sustained an on-the-job injury, contact a maritime attorney at Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A. today.