The Longshore & Harbor Worker’s Compensation Act (LHWCA)
Louisiana Representation in Recovering Worker’s Compensation
The United States Department of Labor states that the LHWCA financially protects around half of a million maritime workers from workplace injuries and diseases. Because longshoremen and harbor workers have to use heavy, complex machinery and handle large loads from overseas, the risk of crushing injuries or coming in contact with a harmful disease or chemical is more likely for them than in other professions.
The United States Department of Labor directly describes the Act:
"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.
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 and Harbor Worker’s Compensation Act Entitlements
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.
Below are standard benefits under the LHWCA:
- Medical expenses
- Payments for disease contraction 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
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
Because claims need to be filed within a timely manner and to make sure your employer is compensating you or your loved for every expense necessary, you need a competent legal team to represent you and your family. Our team has the legal prowess and experience to give you confidence in your legal counsel. Call (225) 412-6348 to take the necessary steps in providing for yourself or your family in your time of distress.