The Longshore And Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act

The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA, found in 33 U.S.C.A. Chapter 18) is a federal statute that protects maritime employees who are accidentally injured or killed during the course of employment.

According to the statute, an “employee” is an individual, longshoreman or harbor worker (ship repairman, shipbuilder or ship-breaker) engaged in maritime employment. To be considered an employee or an agent of the employer, the person must be performing a ship’s service and must have a substantial relationship to the vessel that contributes to the mission or function of the ship. An employee injured or killed in or over navigable waters is protected under the LHWCA, and the employer is liable for compensation of the employee’s injuries (or for wrongful death compensation to surviving loved ones).

A vessel owner is also liable for injuries to the crew member (or loved ones of a deceased crew member) if the owner knew or should have known of the dangerous condition that caused injury or death. If you or your loved one was injured while an employee of a seagoing vessel, it is important to contact an attorney knowledgeable in the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act to discuss your possible claim for compensation.


Under the LHWCA, compensation is not allowed until three days after the injury (see 33 U.S.C.A. § 906). However, if the disability caused by the injury lasts longer than 14 days, compensation may be allowed from the date of the injury. The law is very specific about the types of injuries and the amount of compensation available for each. For more information about the compensation scheme for particular injuries and disabilities, speak to an attorney to discuss your situation and how the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act may apply to you and your family.

Time Limit

If you or a loved one has a claim for compensation under the LHWCA, you must first, within 30 days of the injury or death (or within 30 days from the time you learned of the injury or death), give notice to the employer and to the district director for the compensation district in which the injury or death occurred (see 33 U.S.C.A. § 912(a)). Insurance carriers are also entitled to their own separate notices; it may not be enough to simply notify the employer, but it depends upon the situation. Please contact an attorney experienced with the LHWCA to assist you with proper notification and notification forms. Doing so will help ensure that your claims aren’t jeopardized by failing to provide proper, timely notice to all interested parties.

A claim of injury or death normally must be filed within one year of the occurrence. Failure to file a claim within this time may bar you from recovery. An attorney can advise you as to the form, content and delivery requirements for submitting death or injury notification as required by federal law.

Speak To A Personal Injury Lawyer

If you feel you may have a claim under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, it is important to contact a maritime law attorney to discuss your rights and answer any questions you have.

DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.

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