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How the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act protects workers

Although anyone can be the victim of a workplace injury, some jobs are more dangerous than others. And among the most dangerous jobs out there are those in the maritime and longshore industries. In fact, every year, at least 350 workers in these jobs suffer from serious injuries on the job - which are most commonly caused by slips and falls, drowning and accidents related to the mishandling of machines and other equipment.

Recognizing how dangerous these jobs are, in 1927 Congress passed the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act, also known as LHWCA, in order to help longshore workers receive compensation for their job-related injuries.

What is the LHWCA?

Under the LHWCA, workers in the longshore industry who are injured on the job can receive compensation for their medical treatments without having to prove negligence on someone else's part. In order to be eligible for these benefits, a worker must be employed in maritime occupations - including longshore work, ship repair, ship breaking and shipbuilding.

If the worker's injury occurred on navigable waters, or an area that is used for loading and unloading a ship, workers are eligible for the following benefits:

  • Payments for medical treatments
  • Two-thirds of their average salary while they recuperate from their injuries
  • Compensation for any permanent injuries that they sustain
  • Compensation for vocational rehabilitation

In addition, if someone is killed on the job, their surviving spouse is eligible to receive 50 percent of the worker's salary, while surviving children can receive about 16 percent of the worker's salary.

Employees' rights

In addition to the compensation that longshore employees can receive under the LHWCA, the law also protects employees from being treated badly after filing a claim for their injuries. Under the law, an employer may not discriminate against an employee for filing a claim and an employee cannot be fired just because he or she filed a claim after getting injured. Employers can, however, fire an employee for filing a fraudulent claim under the LHWCA.

Have you been injured on the job?

If you have been injured on the job, you may be able to receive compensation for your medical treatments, as well as pain and suffering. Consult an attorney who can advise you of your rights and help you file a claim for the compensation you deserve. In addition, a qualified personal injury attorney can assist you with a wrongful death lawsuit if a family member dies as a result of a job-related injury.


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