Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA)

The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) is a federal law that “provides for the payment of compensation, medical care, and vocational rehabilitation services to employees disabled from on the job injuries that occur upon the navigable waters of the United States, or in adjoining areas customarily used in the loading, unloading, repairing, or building of a vessel.” According to the United States Department of Labor, the LHWCA also provides payment of survivor benefits to dependents if the work injury causes, or contributes to, the employee’s death.

Who Is Covered

To determine eligibility under the LHWCA, there is a status test that helps regulate what employees are covered. The status test deals with the nature of the work that the employee performed for the employer and the most important part is that the employee performed “maritime” work. Traditional maritime employment includes longshore workers, ship-repairers, shipbuilders or ship-breakers, and harbor construction workers.

Who Is Excluded

The LHWCA only allows coverage to employees who are actively engaged in maritime employment. Thus, dock or marina employees who perform exclusively office or clerical work for a maritime employer do not qualify for coverage. Additionally, the LHWCA specially excludes seamen, employees of the United States government or of any state or foreign government, employees whose injuries were caused solely by their intoxication, and employees whose injuries were due to their own willful intention to harm themselves or others.

Differences Between the LHWCA and the Jones Act

As you read in our last blog, The Jones Act – How It Incorporates Personal Injury Claims, the act protects seamen who sustain personal injuries while on the job. Likewise, the LHWCA provides compensation for work-related injuries suffered by different categories of maritime employees. However, the LHWCA, as mentioned above, excludes a master or member of a crew of any vessel since those employees would be covered under the Jones Act. Therefore, the key distinction between the two acts is the employees connection to a vessel during navigation.

Contact Us Today

The Bottaro Law Firm, LLC provides compassionate, experience representation for individuals who experience personal injuries during their daily activities. Our attorneys represent clients through the Massachusetts and Rhode Island area. To find out if you have a claim form compensation, please call us at 401-777-7777 or contact online for a free consultation.