The Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act, or LHWCA, was passed to provide benefits to a qualifying maritime worker who is unable to work due to a illness or injury that occurred on the navigable waters of the United States, or in adjoining areas used in the loading, unloading, repairing, or building of a vessel.
It’s meant to protect sick or injured maritime workers who don’t meet the qualifications for being a seamen under the Jones Act, yet work on the nation’s navigable waterways — a place that isn’t covered by their state worker’s compensation laws. Workers covered by the LHWCA provide crucial support services that keep the global shipping and offshore energy industries afloat, including:
- Longshore workers
- Shipyard workers
- Harbor workers
- Dock workers
- Port construction workers
In many ways, the LHWCA is similar to a workers’ compensation. Sick or injured workers are entitled to have their employer pay for all reasonable and related medical expenses. Injuries do not have to be caused by negligence for injured maritime workers to qualify for benefits under the LHWCA. Even if the injuries were caused by negligence, the LHWCA forbids the injured workers from filing a negligence lawsuit against their employers.
However, they may take action against any third parties — such as equipment manufacturers — whose negligence caused or contributed to their injuries. The LHWCA also provides wrongful death benefits for dependents of a worker who dies as a result of their condition.
Time Limits to File for LHWCA Benefits
Depending on your condition, you may be able to collect compensation that amounts to two-thirds of your weekly wage for as long as the effects of your injury continue. Compensation is also available to those with permanent impairments as well as for families of workers who died as a result of their condition.
Time is not on your side. Workers are required to give written notice to their employer of any work-related medical condition within 30 days of the occurrence of the injury or illness or within 30 days of becoming aware of their condition. You only have one year from this time in which to file your LHWCA claim.
Get Help with an LHWCA Claim Today
If you are a longshoreman, port worker, ship builder or other maritime worker covered by the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act and are unable to work due to an on-the-job medical injury or illness, we encourage you to reach out to the Houston LHWCA attorneys at Ricardo N. Gonzales & Associates. Our team of highly skilled Houston maritime attorneys are available to assist you through every step of the application process. Has your claim been denied? We can represent you in any LHWCA dispute.
Contact us today to schedule a free initial consultation with one of our attorneys. We’ll sit down and discuss your case, answer any questions you may have and provide helpful feedback on how to proceed with your case.