Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act: Protection for Injured Workers

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The Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act, or LHWCA, was established to compensate workers at sea who have been injured or exposed to an occupational disease while working. The LHWCA protects nearly 500,000 workers.

The benefits come from employers who insure the workers or the benefits may come from an insurance carrier that has been authorized to carry the insurance. Sometimes the Division of Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation and the Workers’ Compensation Programs will require that a company carry this type of insurance to protect everyone.

Everyone that is injured at sea is eligible for coverage under either the Jones Act or the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act. If a death occurs while a person is at work the dependants will receive the benefits. The Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act also includes occupational diseases as well as injury.

The employer is responsible for paying all insurance payments necessary to keep the benefits current in case of an injury if the company chooses a private insurance company to cover the policy. If the payments are not made the insurance may cancel and there will be no benefits to pay. A company must provide this type of coverage to workers who work at sea.

Once a worker is injured they will receive benefits. The amount received will be determined by their weekly wage. The pay is 66 2/3 percent of the weekly wages. The exception would be if there was a specified maximum amount when that person was injured. The compensation is paid as long as the worker is unable to resume working or if they have received permanent impairment that will prevent them from returning to work. Benefits should begin within ten days of the injury. If a death occurs the widow of the deceased will receive benefits within ten days of the death.

If a worker or a widow disagrees with the amount determined they can request a hearing that will be presented in front of a law judge. The final decision from a judge may be appealed if the worker or widow is not satisfied with the decisions. The appeal will need to be approved with the Benefits Review Board.

If you disagree with the decision and you appeal it you will want to have a lawyer to represent you. You will need to find a lawyer who specializes in LHWCA. Lawyers that have represented workers in these cases before have a better understanding of the laws and the rights of the workers. They will help you get the benefits that are due to you including the medical expenses.

Contact a lawyer if you have any questions about your benefits immediately. Prolonging a call to the lawyer may also prolong your benefits. You want to make sure that you receive the benefits that are due to you. You should receive your benefits within ten days after your injury occurs. If not your lawyer will be able to help you get the additional wages that were lost so you will not lose a day’s pay.

More info: Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act

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