The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) is statutory worker’s compensation that provides coverage to certain maritime workers such as longshoremen, harbor workers, and others. Enacted in 1927, the act grants benefits that are generally more advantageous towards an injured maritime worker if they qualify, compared to the typical state workers’ compensation. For example, those covered under the state worker’s compensation act typically will only receive 60% of one’s weekly salary for total temporary disability benefits, however, the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act will receive 2/3 of their average weekly wage.
Qualifications for Benefits
The qualifications for the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act can be quite complicated and may cause confusion amongst maritime workers. In general, a maritime worker must meet both status and situs requirements in order to qualify for LHWCA benefits.
The status test involves the type of work that the employee has performed, with the key being “maritime” specific. The duties that an employee performs must be related to maritime activities, and a significant portion of their activities must be in accordance. Just because an employee works for a marina doesn’t mean that they qualify for LHWCA benefits. If an employee’s work typically consists of office or secretarial work, there is a good chance they will not meet the status test. Other types of employees that are excluded for LHWCA coverage include shipbuilders who build recreational vessels less than sixty-five feet long, mechanics or repairmen, and captain and crew members of vessels.
The other qualification that employees must pass is the situs test, which essentially deals with the location in which an employee works for an employer. According to the LHWCA, in order to receive coverage, you must work on, near, or adjacent to navigable water. In general, those who work at least part of the time on piers, wharves, dry docks, terminals, or other areas used for loading, unloading, repairs of vessels will usually pass the situs test. The situs test, however, can become a bit confusing when dealing with shipyards and terminals that are especially long. Often times large shipyards can stretch on for miles, making it difficult to determine what is considered “working on, near, or adjacent to navigable waters.” As a rule of thumb, if you are working within a mile from the water or the border of the shipyard, you are typically covered.
Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act cases can be very complex and difficult to navigate. If you would like to learn more about the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act and whether you qualify, please do not hesitate to reach out. Our skilled maritime injury attorneys are experienced in cases involving seamen, longshoremen, and others who work on the water and will work hard to assist you in your case. Call to learn about your eligibility to receive benefits under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act.