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Maritime workers have rights to medical benefits if they’re hurt

On Behalf of | May 21, 2020 | Longshore Act

The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) is a federal law that covers workers on the navigable waters of the United States should they become disabled. It provides them with compensation for medical care and vocational rehabilitation among other benefits.

Longshore or harbor construction workers, ship-repairers, shipbuilders or ship-breakers are all examples of traditional maritime occupations that are covered under this act. All of these workers are entitled to reasonable medical care under the LHWCA. This includes being examined by a doctor, hospitalized and undergoing a surgical procedure. They’re also entitled to receive treatments, prescription drugs, physical therapy, diagnostic tests and reimbursement for travel expenses under this federal law.

Workers aren’t given a small window of time to claim LHWCA medical benefits. They can request payment indefinitely provided that they’re still suffering from an illness or injury. Workers must request authorization from their employer or insurance provider to receive nonemergency medical treatment though.

Ill or injured maritime workers that are covered by the LHWCA aren’t limited to seeing a select pool of doctors. While chiropractors are considered physicians under the LHWCA, faith healers and naturopaths aren’t considered as authorized medical providers under this same piece of legislation. LHWCA claimants can only change doctors with permission from their employers, insurance providers or The Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs.

Claimants may be required to go to medical appointments that their employer or insurance company schedule without their prior knowledge. Such an appointment must take place within a reasonable distance from the worker’s home. Any worker that fails to attend such an appointment may have their benefits suspended until they’ve completed such a medical examination.

If you’re a maritime worker who’s been injured while working on the navigable waters of the United States such as here in Manhattan, then you may be entitled to medical compensation under LHWCA. The financial payment you may receive is largely contingent upon the severity of your injury. An attorney that you ask to review your New York case should have the experience to get results. This is especially important when your medical and financial future is on the line.