Longshoreman & Harbor Worker Rights

Houston Maritime Injury Attorney

Workers' compensation is insurance provided by your employer. If you are injured or become ill in conjunction with your job duties, then you can file a workers' compensation claim. This compensation could cover your medical costs, lost wages and sometimes additional expenses. Those in the maritime industry have their own type of workers' comp that is separate from regular federal workers' compensation. Offshore maritime workers are covered by the Jones Act. To qualify for Jones Act coverage, a worker must meet seaman status. This means that they have to spend a significant amount of time working on a U.S. flagship in U.S. navigable waters and contribute to that ship's primary function. Those who work in the maritime industry, but do not meet Jones Act qualifications, may be covered by the Longshore & Harbor Workers' Compensation Act (LHWCA).

Longshore & Harbor Workers' Compensation Act (LHWCA)

LHWCA is specialized workers' comp insurance for those who qualify as longshoremen or harbor workers. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, LHWCA provides coverage to approximately 500,000 workers in the nation when they are injured on U.S. navigable waters or in adjoining areas such as shipyards, docks and harbors.

You may qualify for LHWCA coverage if you work as:

  • A shipbuilder
  • A ship repairer
  • A harbor construction worker

These are just a few examples of qualifying occupations. If you are already covered by the Jones Act or workers' comp through your employer, then you will not be able to recover benefits under LHWCA.

Benefits Provided by Longshoreman Workers' Comp

If you are injured on the job or become sick and are unable to work, you may be entitled to any or possibly all of the following benefits:

  • Medical payments
  • Rehabilitation expenses
  • Wrongful death benefits for surviving family members
  • Loss of wages
  • Occupational therapy or re-training

Much like standard workers' compensation insurance, the LHWCA provides for wage compensation at a rate of 66 2/3 the average regular weekly rate of pay. In order to secure this type of coverage, a longshoreman or harbor worker must notify his or her employer of the injury/illness within 30 days of its occurrence. The employer must then file a formal claim for benefits. Employers can face penalties for failing to report employee injuries in a timely manner.

How a Houston Maritime Lawyer Can Help

Stern Law Group is passionate about the representation of those working in the maritime industry. This is one of the most dangerous occupations in the United States, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. To request compensation under the LHWCA, there are multiple forms you will have to fill out and submit. For example, within 30 days of your injury you will have to issue your employer an LS-201 form with is a "notice of injury."

Because it often takes a longer period of time to discover an occupational illness, the DOL provides extra time for filing occupational illness claims. You have one year to file a written claim for compensation. Our Houston maritime attorneys can provide you information like this and more so that you can file a successful claim. We can even assist workers who have received unfavorable workers' comp settlements or denials of coverage. To learn more, please call today!