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What to Know About the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act

What to Know About the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act

The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) is federal legislation that provides for payments to cover medical care, vocational rehabilitation services and general compensation for any employees disabled due to workplace injuries on American waters or adjoining areas used for loading, unloading, building or repairing marine vessels. The law also institutes survivor benefits to victims’ dependents if the workplace accident either results in or contributes to the death of a worker.

Below are some key components you should know about the LHWCA if you work in a harbor or on a vessel:

Who does the legislation cover?

The law covers all standard maritime employees, including longshore workers, shipbuilders, ship repairers and harbor construction crews. All injuries to these workers must have occurred on the navigable waters of the United States or adjoining areas as mentioned above. Some nonmaritime employees could be eligible if they perform their job on navigable water and suffer an injury there.

Is anyone excluded from the LHWCA?

The LHWCA excludes the following people specifically:

  • Seamen
  • Employees of the federal government or any foreign or state government
  • Employees whose injuries were caused by intoxication due to drugs or alcohol
  • Employees whose injuries were caused by their own intent to hurt themselves or others
  • Certain other individuals covered by state workers’ compensation laws

How does the Jones Act differ from the LHWCA?

The LHWCA excludes seamen (masters or crews of any “vessel”) from its coverage. The Jones Act is specifically meant to cover those workers.

What will OWCP do for injured employees?

The Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP), under the U.S. Department of Labor, is tasked with the oversight of several workers’ compensation statutes, including the LHWCA. The office records injuries and deaths reported under the law, ensures all appropriate benefits are paid accurately and responsibly, assists in resolving claim disputes, and provides vocational rehabilitation services. It also provides information and technical assistance regarding compensation, vocational rehabilitation benefits and medical benefits.

To learn more about the LHWCA and how it might affect your claim, consult an experienced Pennsylvania workers’ compensation lawyer with Rudberg Law Offices, LLC. Call our office at 412-488-6000 or contact us online.