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Workers' compensation benefits available to injured longshore and harbor workers

The U.S. Maritime Industry encompasses some 400,000 sea vessels. While hundreds of thousands of men and women work aboard these vessels, hundreds of thousands more work from shore to support the operations of sea vessels. For the individuals who are employed as construction workers, longshoremen, ship builders, ship maintenance workers and crane operators; the hours are long and the work is often physical and dangerous.

Much like the Jones Act helps provide compensation for injured seamen, the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act provides workers' compensation benefits to injured longshore and harbor workers. An employee covered under the LHWCA may be able to recover benefits in the event he or she is injured while performing work-related duties or develops an illness or medical condition due to exposure to certain occupational toxins and chemicals.

In the event an individual who is covered under the LHWCA suffers an injury that will result in lost work hours, an employer is required to report the injury to the United States Department of Labor’s Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs and also provide the injured worker with the necessary paperwork to file an official claim. The injured worker then has the option of seeking medical care from an employer-affiliated doctor or one of his or her own choosing.

Under LHWCA, an injured employee is entitled to pay equal to two-thirds of his or her working wage amount during the time in which medical treatment for an injury is ongoing. In the event an employee's injuries prevent a return to work, a disabled worker should be able to recover compensation equal to two-thirds of his or her earning capacity.

For the men and women who work to build and maintain U.S. sea vessels and load and unload the goods they transport, work conditions are often hazardous and injuries can be common. A work injury can not only be painful, but may also result in permanent disability of a harbor construction worker or longshore worker. In cases where a worker encounters difficulty in obtaining compensation under the LHWCA or disputes the amount provided, an attorney can assist.

Source: Maritime Injury Guide, "Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA)," 2015

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