The Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation act, also known as the LHWCA, provides benefits for maritime workers in New Orleans, Louisiana and and any offshore workers who suffer occupational injuries or diseases but are not covered by the Jones Act or state workers’ compensation laws.
The Jones Act only covers claims for those who meet the qualification of a seaman, which many maritime workers do not. State worker’s compensation laws do not cover workers employed on navigable waters. The LHWCA fills that gap, and a Louisana longshore lawyer at Lambert Zainey can help make sure your rights under this law are protected.
Who Is Covered by the LHCWA?
The Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act covers workers who are employed in support of the maritime industry on any navigable waterway, including:
- Dock and port workers
- Port crane operators
- Salvage and repair divers
- Shipbuilders and shipyard workers
In addition to these workers, the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, or OCSLA, extends the protection of this law to non-seamen employed on the Outer Continental Shelf. Workers who likely will not qualify under this law include clerical workers, seamen, and federal government employees.Section Close DIV
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Qualifying for Benefits under the LHWCA: The Status Test and The Situs Test
To qualify for benefits under the LHWCA, a worker must meet both the status and situs tests. The status test is used to determine if the worker is considered an employee within the maritime industry, while the situs test determines if the injury occurred in a covered location.
- The status test considers the type of work being done and whether you were performing maritime-related job duties at the time of the accident.
- The situs test looks at where the injury occurred, which can include navigable waters and adjoining areas such as piers, wharves, and terminals.
If a worker meets both the status and situs tests, they may be eligible for benefits under the LHWCA.
It is important to note that filing a claim under the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act can be a complex process, and having a knowledgeable LHWCA attorney on your side can greatly improve your chances of receiving the benefits you are entitled to.
Common Types of Longshore Injuries
Longshoremen, dock and port workers, and other maritime industry employees face a wide range of hazards on the job. Common injuries can include:
- Back and neck injuries from heavy lifting or repetitive motions
- Slip and fall accidents on wet or uneven surfaces
- Injuries caused by machinery such as cranes and forklifts
- Hearing loss from exposure to loud noises
- Respiratory problems from exposure to chemicals or hazardous materials
- Injuries sustained during shipbuilding or repair activities
It is also important to keep detailed records of all medical treatments related to your injury, as well as any lost wages or other expenses you have incurred as a result. This information can be helpful when filing a claim for benefits under the LHWCA.
Filing a Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act Claim
The New Orleans-based LHWCA attorneys at Lambert Zainey encourage injured workers to seek assistance in filing a claim as soon as possible, as time is of the essence. Injured workers must notify their employer of the injury within 30 days, and an LHWCA claim must be filed within a year of the date of injury.
Compensation available through this maritime law includes:
- Medical costs
- Disability payments
- Wrongful death benefits for families
In general, a worker who is covered by the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act is entitled to temporary benefits equal to ⅔ of his average weekly wages while being treated for his injury.
Over $1 Billion Recovered For Our Injured Clients
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, however in many cases, a worker may be able to recover higher damages through a third-party negligence lawsuit.
Although the LHWCA forbids workers from directly filing a negligence lawsuit against his employer, it does allow for claims against third parties, such as a ship owner or equipment manufacturer that contributed to your injuries.
Frequently Asked Questions About Maritime Law Claims
Jones Act claims and LHWCA claims are both maritime laws that provide compensation for injured workers, but they differ in their scope of coverage. The Jones Act covers workers employed on vessels who are considered seamen and requires that the employer be found at least partially negligent for a worker to recover damages. The LHWCA, on the other hand, covers longshore and harbor workers who are not considered seamen and does not require proof of negligence to receive benefits.
Yes, LHWCA benefits can apply to workers who suffer from occupational diseases as well as accidental injuries. These benefits may include coverage for medical expenses, disability payments, and rehabilitation. It is important to note that in order to receive these benefits, the occupational disease or illness must have been caused or aggravated by the worker’s job duties.
No, your employer cannot legally retaliate against you for filing a claim under the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act. If you believe that your employer has retaliated against you in any way, you should contact an experienced maritime attorney who can help protect your rights and pursue legal action if necessary.
It is important to note that an employer can legally fire or refuse to hire an employee who has knowingly and willfully filed a false claim.
Get Help from an Experienced Louisiana Longshore Lawyer
With more than 35 years of experience in helping injured maritime workers, Lambert Zainey has the legal expertise and resources to thoroughly investigate and pursue your Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act claim. Call today to schedule a free, confidential consultation with a Louisiana longshore lawyer to get honest advice on how to move forward.
Should a claim prove to be necessary, our attorneys work on a contingency basis. This means that you pay nothing until we recover compensation for you. Contact our maritime injury attorneys today.