In general, when a worker in California is injured on-the-job, they are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. However, certain federal laws address on-the-job injuries in certain professions. One of these laws is the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA). The following is a brief overview of the Act and how it helps those covered by it.
What is the LHWCA?
The LHWCA is a federal law that covers workers who work on navigable waters or adjoining areas and are injured or made disabled on-the-job. This includes workers who load, unload, repair or build vessels. If a worker covered by the LHWCA dies on the job, the LHWCA provides survivor benefits to that worker’s dependents, as long as the work injury contributed to the death. LHWCA benefits are generally paid by a self-insured employer or a private insurer. Injury encompasses not just the normal range of physical maladies that could plague a worker but also occupational diseases, hearing loss and other on-the-job illnesses.
What workers does the LHWCA cover?
The LHWCA covers longshore workers who build, repair or break ships and harbor construction workers. The LHWCA only applies to injuries that occur on navigable waters or adjoining areas such as piers and docks. Non-maritime employees may also be covered by the LHWCA as long as they are working on navigable waters at the time of the injury. The LHWCA does not apply to seamen, U.S. government employees, employees whose injuries were caused solely by drunkenness or other forms of intoxication, and employees whose injuries were willful. The LHWCA also does not cover workers covered by California workers’ compensation laws.
The LHWCA is a complicated act, but it provides many essential protections to those who are covered by it. All workers injured on the job are entitled to seek benefits, whether this is under the LHWCA or state workers’ compensation laws. These programs provide a financial safety net to those who are injured on the job and are having trouble making ends meet while they are out of work recovering from their injury. A Harbors Workers Act claim can be essential to injured longshoremen and other workers injured on navigable waters.