Under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA), qualifying workers are entitled to obtain compensation for medical costs, living expenses and other damages resulting from an on-the-job injury occurring in the navigable waters of the United States. Under the law, this also includes any adjoining pier, wharf, dry dock, terminal, building way, marine railway, or other adjoining area customarily used by an employer in loading, unloading, repairing, dismantling, or building a vessel.
It provides benefits to workers who do not meet the requirements for being a seaman under the Jones Act or are not covered by state workers’ compensation laws. Occupations covered under the LHWCA include:
- Crane operators
- Dock workers
- Harbor workers
- Marine construction workers
- Port workers
- Forklift operators
- Shore-based repair workers
- Vessel operators
- Vessel repair workers
Benefits are available to those who qualify, regardless of the cause of the injury. However, in cases of serious injuries, the benefits paid out under the LHWCA may not cover the total cost of a worker’s damage.
Employers Can’t Be Sued for Negligence under the LHWCA, But Third Parties Can
If the accident that caused your injuries was due to negligence, the LHWCA limits a worker’s ability to seek additional compensation. By accepting LHWCA disability benefits, the injured worker is barred from pursuing legal action against their employers, even if the injuries were due to their employer’s negligence.
While they may not be able to directly sue their employers, longshoremen and other workers covered under the LHWCA are allowed to pursue claims against any third parties whose negligent actions may have caused or contributed to their injuries. These third parties can include contractors, architects, vessel owners, port authorities, or manufacturer, whether they are entirely or partially responsible. Third party longshore claims can help an injured worker obtain further compensation in addition to the standard LHWCA benefits.
Compensation achieved through a third party longshore injury claim can exceed the benefits you obtain under LHWCA by a significant amount. If you are a maritime worker covered by the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) whose injuries were caused by the negligence of a third party, you should speak with an experienced Houston maritime law attorney as soon as possible.
Maximize Your Settlement
The attorneys at Ricardo N. Gonzalez & Associates are dedicated to helping injured maritime workers and their families recover the maximum amount of compensation. This includes pursuing all third party litigation options to secure compensation above and beyond a LHWCA claim.
Third party longshore claims can be particularly challenging. Under the LHWCA, you must get your employer’s approval to pursue litigation against a third party. Failing to do so may allow your employer to terminate benefits. Our Houston maritime injury attorneys possess the expertise and skills to negotiate with your employer and coordinate any third party actions.
Contact Ricardo N. Gonzalez & Associates
If you are collecting LHWCA benefits and believe a third party was also responsible for your injuries, please contact Ricardo N. Gonzalez & Associates to schedule a free, no obligation consultation. Our Houston maritime accident attorneys will listen the details in your case, identify instances of third party negligence, answer any questions you may have and provide helpful legal advice on how best to protect your rights.