Longshore & Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act Lawyers in Houston, TX
LHWCA Attorneys Serving Workers in Texas, Louisiana & Across the U.S.
The Longshore & Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) is a federal law that grants workers’ compensation for wounded employees who work in the areas used for loading, unloading, crafting, and repairing a sea vessel. The LHWCA also covers workers who work on navigable waters within the U.S. The act ensures that employers (or insurance companies covering an employer) properly compensate an injured worker when a work-related injury requires medical care, vocational rehabilitation, or missed work days.
The LHWCA also covers survivor benefits.
LHWCA Frequently Asked Questions
Who Is Covered by the LHWCA?
The LHWCA covers numerous offshore and maritime occupations including:
- Harbor workers
- Ship repairers
- Longshore workers
For an employee to be covered by the LHWCA, he or she must be injured in a location outlined under the list mentioned above. A non-traditional employee may be covered under the LHWCA if injured on navigable waters.
Who Is Covered Under LHWCA Extensions?
Here is a list of LHWCA extensions and their outlined beneficiaries as defined under LHWCA extension:
- Defense Base Act (DBA): Covers a plethora of private and personal workers who are employed on a defense base. Some of these workers include private employees working on U.S. military bases or on any lands outside of America where the U.S. military is residing; and contractor employees who are either: running a public work contract with an American government agency anywhere outside of the United States, or selling military goods or services to U.S. allies. Another covered employee under the DBA is a maritime operative who is working under an American employer and providing welfare or other social services for the benefit of the Armed Services.
- Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA): This extension of the LHWCA covers employees who work on the Outer Continental Shelf of the United States in the examination and advancement of natural resources, such as offshore drilling employees.
- Non-Appropriated Fund Instrumentalities Act (NAFIA): This extension covers employees who work as nonappropriated fund instrumentalities of the Armed Forces (for example, workers who help shape the confidence, wellbeing, and satisfaction of Armed Forces personnel). A worker who falls under this category could be a counselor, a motivational speaker, or another civilian worker.
Who Is Excluded from the LHWCA?
- Government employees
- Intoxicated employees
- Employees who harm themselves
- Various workers covered under state workers’ compensation law
How Does the Jones Act Differ from the LHWCA?
The Jones Act and the LHWCA accomplish the same goal: workers’ compensation for a group of workers. However, the outlined group of employees differ between the two acts. Under the LHWCA, maritime workers who do not “directly aid in the function or mission of a sea vessel” are covered. The Jones Act covers employees who “directly aid in the function or mission of a sea vessel.”
Who Upholds the LHWCA?
The Office of Worker’s Compensation Programs (OWCP) carries out declarations of workers’ compensation cases among employees covered by the LHWCA. In a scenario where a claim is denied; an LHWCA attorney who tries cases, such as our team, can help a claimant seek compensation.
Am I Automatically Covered by the LHWCA as a Maritime Employee?
While you will be covered by the LHWCA automatically as an employee that meets the LHWCA requirements for coverage, you are not guaranteed compensation under the LHWCA. If you sustain an injury while working in LHWCA conditions, you will have to file with the OWCP. OWCP can deny your claim, or your employer can contest it. For these reasons, it is important that you have an LHWCA law firm behind you should your claim be denied.
Standing Up for Longshoremen Nationwide. Offices in Texas & Louisiana.
In addition to loading and unloading cargo, a longshoreman must be able to complete a variety of tasks that range in difficulty. These tasks include operating equipment, transferring loaded trailers, rigging cargo, and more. The terminal areas in which longshoremen work have many safety regulations that govern the high traffic areas and heavy-weight equipment. Even with these regulations, the possibility of a serious accident is high.
When a longshoreman is seriously injured, it's crucial for an attorney to be involved early enough to investigate. With professional legal help, you may be able to prove that your accident qualifies for compensation under maritime law.
Longshoremen's Rights Under Maritime Law
Most of the machinery used in a marine terminal requires a fair amount of skill and experience to operate safely and effectively. Due to the high potential for injury, the National Maritime Safety Administration was formed to protect the rights of those working in the marine cargo handling industry in the United States. This administration works in conjunction with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to provide longshoremen and others in the marine cargo handling industry with information, counsel, access to health, and safety training resources.
The U.S. Department of Labor also created the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act (LHWCA) to provide employment-injury and occupational-disease protection to those who work as longshoremen on the navigable waters of the United States. This act provides for compensation and medical care, and may also provide benefits to the survivors if a longshoreman's injury results in death. To find out if you or your loved one will qualify for coverage under the LHWCA or other maritime law, consult our firm.
Receiving Disability for Breathing Problems Developed in a Shipyard
Under the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act, you may be entitled to benefits for a work-related injury or disease, including asbestos-related lung diseases such as mesothelioma. Your employer's duty to provide disability compensation arises out of the employment relationship itself, so there is no need to show that the employer was at fault for exposing you to whatever caused your disability. Just because you did not work on a commercial vessel enough to be classified as a seaman, there are provisions other than under the Jones Act.
If it can be proved that your illness was developed as a direct result of your service to your employer and can be linked to the workplace, you may be entitled to benefits under the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act (LHWCA).
Shipyards are known for carrying hazardous chemicals that, if ingested over long periods of time, can cause breathing deficiencies that require medical treatment. The severity of your breathing problem will depend on the amount of hazardous chemicals and substances in your shipyard as well as the amount of time you spent with them. As a shipyard worker, you are entitled to benefits under maritime law even though your work was not directly on a vessel. If you have developed a breathing problem, it would be best to contact your doctor immediately to ascertain the extent of your illness so that adequate treatment can be applied. Your illness may be mild, but it could also be severe. Your employer is obligated to pay your medical bills if your illness can be connected to your work at your shipyard workplace. Ask your employer if you are unsure whether you can be covered.
Longshoremen's Rights FAQ
Do I have rights even though working as a longshoreman is a dangerous job?
Working as a longshoreman can be dangerous if equipment malfunctions, safety regulations are overlooked, or if any person involved in the work is inexperienced or careless. This is strategic and physical work that involves high-traffic areas and heavy machinery. Even though working as a longshoreman may have inherent risks, you still have rights. These rights are even more important because of the nature of your work.
As a longshoreman:
- You have the right to benefits for medical care and lost earnings without having to prove negligence or fault.
- You have the right to report a work injury and seek benefits without facing punishment from your employer.
- You have the right to file a lawsuit if a third party was responsible for your longshore accident, to seek additional damages for pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and more.
Make sure your rights are protected to the fullest.
What are some of the types of longshore injuries?
Longshoremen are at risk of catastrophic injury when equipment malfunctions or their employers are negligent. This may include brain and spinal cord injuries, loss of limb, broken bones, internal organ damage, severe burns, crush injuries, and near-drowning. Some of these injuries leave lasting physical and emotional scars. Some claim longshoremen’s lives. At Arnold & Itkin, we’re passionate about setting things right for injured longshoremen and their families. We assert our clients’ rights to the fullest extent of the law.
Do I have the right to compensation if I was injured as a longshoreman?
If you were injured while working as a longshoreman, you may be entitled to compensation in various ways. You may be able to file a claim under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, which provides benefits regardless of who was at fault in the accident. Maritime and personal injury laws may also apply to your case, which would help you pursue financial compensation for economic and non-economic damages for longshore injuries caused by negligence, intentional misconduct, or defective products/equipment. The right approach will maximize your recovery and help you begin to rebuild your life.
Arnold & Itkin's maritime attorneys are leaders in the field. We've recovered billions for our clients and hold record-setting verdicts and settlements for maritime employees.
The LHWCA does not grant automatic compensation, but we can help. If you have any questions about the LHWCA or need help with your LHWCA, call Arnold & Itkin today.
Helping Injured Harbor Workers Throughout Texas & the Entire Nation
Harbor workers have the enormous task of constructing, converting, overhauling, repairing, altering, and outfitting ships. This job requires an extensive skill set and an in-depth knowledge of machinery and large equipment. As a result, harbor workers must follow strict safety guidelines to safeguard against serious injuries and fatalities. If you are employed as a harbor worker by a U.S. company, it is vitally important that you understand your rights in case of an accident. General maritime law specifically addresses your rights as an offshore worker.
Call Our Shipyard Injury Lawyers for a Free Case Review: (888) 493-1629
Harbor workers who have been injured are capable of recovering medical and disability payments under the LHWCA, as well as compensation for rehabilitation services and other situational costs. However, filing a claim and receiving the full amount of compensation available is not easily accomplished. You need an experienced lawyer who is committed to fighting for your rights regardless of the circumstances.
Call (888) 493-1629 to talk to our attorneys about the LHWCA and your potential claim. We're here to help you secure the best future by fighting for the best results.