You’re a maritime worker who has gotten sick or injured and are unable to work. You don’t meet the qualifications for being a seaman under the Jones Act, but on the other hand, your workplace is on navigable waters so isn’t covered by state workers compensation laws. You need money for medical and living expenses. What are your legal options?
The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) is a federal law that gives protection to workers who have suffered on-the-job injuries while working in support of the maritime industry on the navigable waters of the United States, or in adjoining areas used in the loading, unloading, repairing, or building of a vessel. This law provides the right to seek compensation for the damages resulting from these injuries.
Examples of occupations covered under the LHWCA include:
- Longshore worker
- Dock and port workers
- Harbor construction workers
- Port crane operators
- Salvage and repair divers
- Shipyard workers
Some maritime workers may also be covered by the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, or OCSLA, which extends the protection of the LHWCA to non-seamen employed on the Outer Continental Shelf.
Seamen, U.S. government employees, employees covered under state workers compensation laws, temporary workers, employees injured because of their intoxication, or employees who deliberately caused their injuries are excluded from receiving compensation under the LHWCA.
LHWCA Benefits – What You Can Expect
Depending on the circumstances, injured workers may be able to collect compensation for:
- Medical expenses
- Disability payments
- Vocational rehabilitation services
The LHWCA also provides wrongful death benefits to dependents of a worker who dies as a result of their injuries.
In most cases, an LHWCA claim pays injured workers benefits that amount to two-thirds of their average weekly wage while they are undergoing treatment. Benefits are broken down into four categories:
- Temporary total
- Temporary partial
- Permanent total
- Permanent partial
These categories are designated based on when or if an injured worker can return to the job.
The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act is similar to state workers’ comp laws in that a worker’s injuries do not have to be caused by negligence to be eligible for benefits. The LHWCA forbids workers from filing a negligence lawsuit against their employer, but it does allow for claims against third parties, such as a ship owner or equipment manufacturer whose negligent actions may have contributed to their injuries.
Our Houston LHWCA Attorneys Can Help You to Collect the Benefits You Deserve
The experienced Houston LHWCA attorneys at The Ammons Law Firm advise injured workers to seek legal assistance in filing their claim as soon as possible after the injury takes place. Injured workers are required to give written notice to their employer of any work related injury within 30 days of the occurrence of the injury or within 30 days of becoming aware of the injury. In addition to this notice of injury, the injured worker must file their LHWCA claim within a year of the date of injury (or death).
With more than 20 years of experience in helping injured maritime workers in the Gulf Coast region and throughout the United States, The Ammons Law Firm possesses the legal expertise, skills and resources needed to successfully resolve your claim. Our Houston maritime accident attorneys are always available to discuss your case. Call us today to schedule a free, confidential meeting. We handle most LHWCA claims on a contingency basis, which means there are no up-front charges should we accept your case and you only if we recover compensation for you.