What Is The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act
Every state in the United States has its own insurance program to provide benefits to employees who are injured in the course of their employment. These programs are known as workers’ compensation. These programs, however, cover injuries only within the state. What then is an employee supposed to do for an injury suffered while working in the ocean? How does the employee recover workers’ compensation benefits?
In 1927 , the federal government enacted the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, which provides compensation to workers disabled from injuries on the job and that occur on the navigable waters of the United States, or in adjoining areas customarily used in the loading, unloading, repairing, or building of a vessel.
What Employees Are Covered Under the Act?
The Longshore Act provides protection for maritime workers, such as longshore workers, ship-repairers, shipbuilders or ship-breakers, and harbor construction workers. To be covered under the act, an injury must occur within the areas specified in the Act: navigable U.S. waters or adjoining areas used for vessels. While non-maritime workers are not covered under the Act, if they suffer an injury while performing work on navigable waters then they may be entitled to benefits.
Various types of employees are specifically excluded from the Act. Notably, these include seamen, employees of the U.S. 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.
What Type of Benefits Are Recoverable Under the Longshore Act?
If an individual is covered under the Longshore Act, an injured worker will receive compensation for medical care, which includes all medical, surgical, and hospital treatment and other medical supplies and services required by the employment related injury, as well as the cost of travel and mileage incidental to such treatment. Depending on the injury, payments may also cover vocational rehabilitation services.
In addition, the Act provides for disability payments. The amount of disability available to an injured worker will depend on (1) whether the disability is temporary or permanent and (2) whether the disability is partial or total. Compensation is payable for disabilities that are permanent total, temporary total, permanent partial, or temporary partial. Disability payments are meant to compensate a worker for the inability to earn the same wages as they were earning at the time of the injury. Examples of disabilities include the loss of the arm, hand, fingers, leg, foot, toes, hearing or vision. The compensation available under disability payments is paid based on the employee’s average weekly wage at the time of injury.
Finally, if a work injury causes, contributes, or hastens the employee’s death, benefits are payable to certain specified survivors up to an aggregate of two-thirds of the deceased employee’s average weekly wage.
Contact a Longshore & Harbor Worker Accident Lawyer at Zehl & Associates: 1-888-603-3636
If you have questions about whether you are covered under the Longshore Act or about how to file a claim, our Maritime Lawyers can help.
In the past 5 years alone, our Maritime Attorneys have recovered over $1 Billion for injured offshore workers and consistently received some of the largest verdicts and settlements in history.
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