If you work on the docks, as a harbor construction worker, or as a shipbuilder, your workers’ compensation claims are most likely governed by the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA). This compensation program is administered by the Federal Department of Labor’s is Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP).
The LHWCA lays out the rights and responsibilities of both you and your employer in the event of an accident. It’s a complex piece of legislation, and it may not always be clear whether it applies to you or not. If you’re an injured harbor worker, you should consult with the experienced Houston maritime injury lawyers from The Krist Law Firm, P.C. to understand what laws may affect your ability to get compensation.
Call us today at (281) 283-8500 for a free consultation.
Who Is Covered by the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act?
The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) covers the following categories of maritime professionals:
- Longshore workers
- Harbor workers
- Harbor construction workers
The LHWCA specifically excludes some professionals from coverage. If you’re included in the following categories, your workers’ compensation will be governed by other statutes:
- Master or crew member of any vessel as defined under the Jones Act
- Employees of the United States government, or of any other country
- An employee who caused their injury with their own intoxication
- Employees whose injuries were caused by their intention to hurt themselves or others
Additionally, the LHWCA excludes anyone who works in a manner described below, if they can access from workers’ compensation under state law:
- Employees engaged office and clerical work
- Camp, club, recreational, museum, retail outlet, or restaurant employees
- Marina employees not engaged in the construction, replacement, or expansion of the marina
- Aquaculture workers
- Employees of suppliers, vendors, or transporters; individuals temporarily tending to business matters on the premises of a maritime employer; and those not engaged in the scope of work normally covered under the LHWCA
- People employed to build, repair, or dismantle any recreational vessel less than sixty-five feet in length
- Small vessel workers exempted by Secretary of Labor
Does the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act Apply to My Injury?
For the LHWCA to apply to your case, you injury must occur under certain conditions. Some locations where injuries covered by the LHWCA can occur include:
- Dry docks
What Should I Do if I Get Injured on the Job?
If you get injured while working on a pier, dry dock, or terminal, you need to notify your supervisor immediately and seek medical attention. You must notify your employer of your injury in writing within 30 days of it occurring. At this point, it would be wise to retain the services of a lawyer with experience litigating longshore claims under the LHWCA. Most cases get solved through the arbitration or insurance claims process, but sometimes legal action is necessary.
Our Houston Maritime Lawyers Can Help
At The Krist Law Firm, P.C., we are dedicated to ensuring that injured harbor workers and longshoremen get the compensation they need after an accident on a pier or at a wharf. Our Houston maritime lawyers are experienced in handling claims arising out of the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA), the Jones Act, and the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act.
For a free consultation with one of our attorneys, contact us today at (281) 283-8500.