Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act

When a harbor worker or longshoreman is injured, he or she is protected under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA). This act is a federal law governed by the U.S. Department of Labor and is designed to provide compensation for a dock worker or stevendore who was injured while performing some type of job related task. The LHWCA was passed in 1927 and gives coverage to longshoremen who work upon navigable waters in the Untied States. In 1984, the law was amended to give all longshoremen and harbor workers the same level of protection.

Eligibility for Filing LHWCA Claims

Any longshoreman or harbor worker who is injured on a pier, wharf, dry dock or shipping terminal may be eligible to receive compensation under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act. Basically, this federal law protects employees who have a traditional relationship to maritime employment, such as a longshoreman, harbor worker, ship repairman, shipbuilder or ship breaker. Employees who perform the following duties are generally protected by this law:

  • Loading or unloading vessels
  • Ship construction
  • Repairing ships and other vessels
  • Harbor work
  • General maritime construction

The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act Benefits

The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act allows the injured harbor worker or longshoreman to receive medical care and income benefits. These benefits may include medical coverage, lost wages and rehabilitation services. Injured longshoremen and harbor workers are able to choose their own physicians.

In the situation where an injured worker is not able to return to work because of the injury, then he or she may receive temporary disability benefits. Temporary benefits should equal 66 2/3 percent of the worker’s average weekly wages at the time of the injury. The benefits are generally paid every two weeks.

There is a deadline when it comes to applying for compensation under the LHWCA. The injury claim must be filed within one year of the accident with the U.S. Department of Labor. Missing this deadline could prohibit the injured worker from receiving benefits for sustained injuries.

Third Party Lawsuit

If the injury was caused by negligence on the part of someone other than the employer or if there was a dangerous condition on the vessel that resulted in an accident, then a third party lawsuit may be filed. Contact an experienced maritime attorney to determine who was at fault and discuss the legal options available to you and your family.