There are few legal acts that are more difficult to understand than the Longshore Workers Act, also known as the LHWCA. Depending on your field of work and your employer, you may be protected under this act in the event of an injury or disease. First enacted in 1927, the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act covers people that work in maritime environments and fields, such as dock workers. The act can also cover people working on the outer continental shelf, or as contractors for the United States government while in a foreign country.
Approximately 27,000 cases for maritime workers are handled annually where individuals are either disabled, contract an occupational disease, or are killed. The LHWCA extended coverage to maritime workers in 1972, and so maritime claims may be applicable to you in your position. You may be eligible for maritime claims if you work in any of the following environments.
- Cargo ships
- Sea terminals
- Oil platforms
The Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act supplements and extends workers compensation laws for certain individuals. In some cases, benefits get paid directly through insurance carriers, although they can also be paid through a special LHWCA fund, or by the employer. Longshore workers compensation can be particularly difficult to receive, however, because injuries that occur overseas are difficult to verify. Insurance companies tend to deny claims by default, and call for investigations. Injured and disabled employees also experience difficulties in receiving what is due to them according to average weekly wages, and medical benefits.
The Department of Labor has a number of resources online that can help you better understand the act, and an attorney can also clarify the claim process. The Longshore Act was created to protect your rights to compensation, so it is important to understand those rights and speak to an attorney if your claims were denied.