Maritime workers face many dangers while on the job. If they are hurt, then they face expensive medical bills, and the prospect of paying the cost of living without being able to work due to their injury (or sickness). For this reason, the U.S. Department of Labor created the Longshore Compensation Act and the Defense Base Act. According to the Department of Labor, it “offers compensation and medical care to employees disabled from injuries that occur on the navigable waters of the United States, or in adjoining areas customarily used in loading, unloading, repairing, or building a vessel. The Act also offers benefits to dependents if the injury causes the employee’s death.”
If hurt on their job, maritime employees deserve their longshore workers compensation. The act handles 27,000 cases annually of maritime workers and various other special classes of private industry employees. The Longshore workers compensation program maintains over $2.8 billion in reserve securities, so that the continuing provision of benefits for injured workers in cases of employer insolvency are ensured. Currently, the minimum wage replacement rate for longshore workers compensation is $323.80.
There’s also the Defense Base Act (DBA), which is an extension of the federal workers’ compensation program that covers longshoremen and harbor workers. One aspect of the DBA that makes it more “claimant friendly” is how it treats the fees of Defense Base Act attorneys. What separates the DBA from the normal longshore workers compensation is that it is specifically for maritime workers abroad. According to the Department of Labor, “the Defense Base Act provides workers’ compensation protection to civilian employees working outside the United States on U.S. military bases or under a contract with the U.S. government for public works or for national defense.” This means that even abroad, maritime workers are eligible to get the longshore workers compensation that they deserve.
The United States government protects its workers. With the Longshore Compensation Act and the Defense Base Act, maritime workers can receive the longshore workers compensation that they deserve. If you have any questions about the longshore and harbor workers compensation act, feel free to ask in the comments!