The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) is a federal law enacted to provide compensation for workers injured on jobs in United States navigable waters.
Compensation for those disabled includes both medical care and vocational rehabilitation. It also extended survivor benefits to loved ones of workers who suffered fatal workplace injuries.
Not every maritime employee is eligible for such benefits.
Who does the LHWCA cover?
The LHWCA protects workers who perform traditional maritime occupations, including:
- Longshore workers
- Harbor construction workers
Above-referenced workers only are eligible for protection under LHWCA if their injuries occurred on U.S. navigable waters or along adjoining areas such as:
- Areas used in loading and unloading vessels
Non-maritime employees injured in U.S. navigable waters may also qualify for protection under LHWCA.
Who is eligible for LHWCA protection?
There are a few different types of individuals who generally wouldn’t be covered by the LHWCA, including:
- Anyone employed by the state, federal or a foreign government
- Someone who suffered injuries due to intoxication
- Anyone who attempted to willfully harm others or oneself
LHWCA may not cover anyone under state worker’s compensation laws, or only hired to perform security, data processing, or clerical work may also be excluded from LHWCA protections.
What is the Defense Base Act?
The Defense Base Act (DBA) is an extension of the LHWCA. The DBA covers those who work for private employers on U.S. military bases and land the United States uses outside the U.S. for military purposes, including U.S. territories and possessions. The DBA covers those employed:
- On public works contracts
- On contracts funded and approved under the Foreign Assistance Act
- By private employers providing welfare or similar services to U.S. Armed Services
Workers who suffer injuries while performing services covered by the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act or the Defense Base Act may be entitled to monetary compensation. An experienced LHWCA attorney can review your case and advise you of your right to file a claim.