Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act

Workers’ compensation is a form of insurance that was created to make sure workers are able to get immediate medical attention for a work-related injury. Most importantly, it emphasizes care over litigation. It assumes that an injury was, in fact, work-related. Also, it allows for an employer or insurance company to challenge the fact that an injury was work-related whenever there is evidence to support such a challenge. 

Specifically, the workers’ compensation program created for employees who work on the navigable waters or adjoining waterfronts of the United States, is called the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, often referred to as the “Longshore Act.”  It was created by the United States government back in 1927. 

The Longshore Act’s purpose is to offer compensation and medical care to employees who are disabled from injuries that occurred on the navigable waters (or in adjoining areas typically used for loading, unloading, building, or repairing a vessel) of the U.S.  It is also intended to offer benefits to dependents of employees who suffered a fatal injury.  

In this article, we will cover some of the basics of the Longshore Act by discussing 5 important facts about the Act.  If, after reading this article, you have more questions about workers’ compensation, then contact the experienced Longshore Act attorneys in Jacksonville, Florida at RITE Law. Our number is (904) 500-RITE or you can fill out our contact form online. We provide a free case evaluation, so call today.

1. Who Administers the Longshore Act?

The Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP) within the U.S. Department of Labor administers the Longshore Act. With any claim forms that need to be completed, they are typically forms from the Department of Labor.    

2. Who Does the Longshore Act Cover?

The Longshore Act has rules for both employers and employees. With regard to employers, the Longshore Act covers employers who employ full- and part-time workers for maritime work or in a maritime occupation.  

With regard to employees, the Longshore Act covers employees engaged in maritime work, or in a maritime occupation on the navigable waters of the U.S. or in adjoining waterfront areas. That includes, as you would expect, a longshoreman or other person in longshoring operations; and any harbor worker, such as workers who repair, build, or break down ships.  

Initially, the Longshore Act only covered those who worked on the navigable waters of the U.S. However, the Act was extended to cover most maritime and dock workers.

It is important to note that certain other workers are covered through Acts that are related to, or operate under, the Longshore Act. Those relevant laws include:

1. The Defense Base Act – workers’ compensation for federal government contractors working outside the U.S.
2. Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act – workers’ compensation, as you would expect, for private employees working on the Outer Continental Shelf of the U.S.
3. Non-Appropriated Fund Instrumentalities Act – workers’ compensation for civilian workers of non-appropriated fund entities of the Armed Forces.

3. Who is Not Covered By the Longshore Act?

If a state workers’ compensation law covers an employee, then the Longshore Act will not cover individuals employed:

1. Exclusively to perform office clerical, secretarial, or data processing work;
2. By a club, camp, recreational operation, restaurant, museum, or retail store;
3. By a marina and who are not engaged in construction, replacement, or expansion of the marina;
4. To build, repair, or break down any recreational vessel under 65-feet in length;
5. As aquaculture workers; or
6. By suppliers, vendors, or in other work not typically covered by the Longshore Act

Moreover, the Longshore Act does not cover masters or crew members of a vessel; a person engaged to load, unload or repair a vessel under 18 tons; and employees of the U.S. government or any state or foreign government. Be sure to consult with a Longshore Act attorney in Jacksonville to understand all of the exclusions related to the Act.

4. What Types of Benefits Are Provided Under the Longshore Act?

1. Medical Care. Any medical care provided will cover surgical and hospital treatment. The coverage also covers travel and mileage incident to any medical treatment. An injured employee may get services from the doctor of his or her choice, but cannot choose a doctor who is not authorized by the Department of Labor to render Longshore Act medical care.
2. Disability Compensation. Disability under the Act means the inability to earn pre-injury wages. Such compensation is typically paid out every two weeks. Compensation is paid for disabilities that are (i) permanent total, (ii) temporary total, (iii) permanent partial, or (iv) temporary partial.
3. Rehabilitation. Job rehabilitation compensation includes evaluation, testing, counseling, selective placement, and retraining (if the employee cannot return to his or her former job).
4. Death Benefits. Death benefits to the widow or widower are 50% of the average weekly salary of the deceased employee for life, or until remarriage. Other eligible survivors are paid at a similar percentage of the decedent’s weekly salary. They may include parents, brothers, sisters, grandparents, and grandchildren who were dependent on the deceased employee.

5. What Do I Do If I Am Injured?

1. Notice. Tell your employer immediately. If medical care is necessary, ask for a Form LS-1 from your employer, which allows treatment by a physician of your choice.
2. Treatment. Get the necessary medical treatment as quickly as possible.
3. Written Notice. Provide written notice of your injury within 30 days to your employer on a Form LS-201.  Notice of death should also be made within 30 days.
4. Written Claim. File a written claim for compensation on Form LS-203 within 1 year after the date of injury (or last payment of compensation, whichever is later). Similarly, a claim for survivor compensation should be filed within 1 year of the date of death. Some exceptions to the filing requirement are allowed depending on the circumstances.  

It is highly recommended that you retain the services of a seasoned Longshore Act attorney in Jacksonville to assist you with the claims process.  

RITE Law:  A Longshore Act Attorneys in Jacksonville

At RITE Law, we started the firm for one reason – to help those in Florida and elsewhere have the resources of a firm that was big enough to fight but small enough to care. At Rudolph, Israel, Tucker & Ellis (RITE law), we have the resources and experience to go to trial when it is necessary, and we have the wisdom to advise you appropriately.  

Without help from the RITE team, making Longshore Act claims can be very difficult. When you turn to our firm, we spring into action, making sure that every detail of your claim is addressed.  Call us for help. Our number is (904) 500-RITE or you can fill out our contact form online. We provide a free case evaluation, so feel free to call us today.