Louisiana LHWCA Lawyers
Longshore & Harbor Workers' Compensation Act Cases in Baton Rouge, LA
The United States Department of Labor states that the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act (LHWCA) financially protects around half of a million maritime workers from workplace injuries and diseases. Because longshoremen and harbor workers use heavy, complex machinery and handle large loads from overseas, the risk of crushing injuries or contact with a harmful disease or chemical is more likely than in other professions.
The U.S. Department of Labor describes the LHWCA:
"The Act provides for compensation and medical care to employees disabled from injuries that occur on the navigable waters of the United States, or in adjoining areas used in loading, unloading, repairing, or building certain vessels. The Act also provides benefits to specific survivors and dependents if the injury causes the employee's death."
In short, this Act affords shipyard workers the ability to receive the compensation necessary for maintaining financial stability in the event of a serious injury or illness incurred in the workplace. Though you do not need to directly prove the fault of your employer for your injury or illness, legal representation is still critical in determining eligibility and helping to obtain the maximum benefits possible from the LHWCA.
Workers Protected by the LHWCA
Because the maritime industry is so vast, and the Act only refers to a relatively specific set of professionals, it may be helpful to know which of these occupations are covered by the LHWCA and which may not be.
Harbor workers are involved in construction, conversion, overhaul, repair, and alterations while handling machinery and large equipment. Since this work requires special equipment and working methods, it can be challenging and dangerous—even with the safety regulations required in that work environment. Workers risk serious injuries in their daily job activities. If you're hurt, you should contact a Louisiana harbor worker accident attorney as quickly as possible to start preparing your case.
The following job areas are covered by the LHWCA:
- Longshore workers and operators
- Ship repairmen
- Ship builders
- Harbor construction workers
If you or your loved one is a qualified “seaman,” protected under the Jones Act or Louisiana state worker’s compensation, the LHWCA will not apply. We have experience in many areas of law, including maritime law. Our attorneys thrive under the pressure large organizations and companies often put on in cases such as this and stand our ground to maximize your likelihood of receiving a favorable outcome. Arnold & Itkin LLP understands this Act and all of the specific benefits it entitles you as an injured or sickened longshore or harbor worker.
Longshore & Harbor Worker’s Compensation Act Entitlements
Any worker has the right to refuse to engage in unsafe working practices if their employer is violating the safety standards, regulations, and requirements established by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) provides job-injury and occupational-disease protection to employees who are injured while working on the navigable waters of the U.S. Harbor workers have extended benefits for workplace injuries caused in shipyards and boat yards located on navigable waters.
This also includes adjoining shore installations, including:
- Building ways
- Dry docks
- Graving docks
- Marine railways
Workers are entitled to benefits under the LHWCA if an injury occurs in their area of work, which can include the shipyard but also extends to the building and repairing areas. Serious injuries almost always result in a financial crisis, which should be at least partially mended by the employer.
Standard benefits under the LHWCA include:
- Medical expenses
- Payments for disease caused by shipping, such as prolonged exposure to harmful chemicals
- Compensation for rehabilitation and/or physical therapy
- Vocational rehabilitation
- Benefits distributed to the families of workers who were killed on the job, as per a wrongful death claim
- 2/3 of your normal weekly pay for the duration of your recovery time
The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act also assists workers who have disabilities or need ongoing medical care. If harbor workers experience a wrongful death, the LHWCA may also provide benefits to their survivors. The LHWCA does not require that a worker’s employers to be found at fault for the worker’s injury; however, when dealing with occupational disease benefits, shipyards may claim that the occupational injury was due to work at a previous shipyard. Regardless of the case, under the “last maritime employer rule” within the LHWCA, the last employer is responsible for covering the compensation.
LHWCA Benefits in the Event of Wrongful Death
The LHWCA does cover the families of victims if they are unfortunately killed in the workplace, but action must be taken within a relatively short period of time. 50% of the worker’s wages will go to a surviving spouse, 16.66% provided for his or her children, but only if the wrongful death is reported to the employer within 30 days of the incident and if a formal claim has been filed prior to one year after the incident.
LHWCA Representation in Louisiana
If you have been injured while performing duties as a harbor worker, it is your right to seek compensation. Due to the complexities and challenges presented with maritime law, you should not delay initiating a claim for benefits under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act. An injured harbor employee must notify their employer of the injury within 30 days of its occurrence. A formal claim can be filed within one year—if you don’t follow these steps, you could risk losing your benefits.
Arnold & Itkin is one of the leading harbor worker injury firms in the nation. Our work in maritime law and offshore injury has allowed us to help thousands of workers afford medical care, provide for their families, and rebuild their lives. Our Louisiana harbor worker accident attorneys have secured billions of dollars for our clients in some of the largest cases in the nation. When harbor workers are facing the toughest situation of their lives, they call Arnold & Itkin. Call us if you want to review your case and figure out the next step.
Call (888) 493-1629 to take the necessary steps in providing for yourself or your family in your time of distress.