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Members of the maritime industry know hard, rewarding work can also be dangerous. It’s not unheard of that maritime workers are injured on the job.

If you’ve been injured in an offshore accident in New Orleans, Louisiana, or the Gulf Coast area, it might feel as though there’s nothing you can do. But that’s not true.

Even if your life has been changed forever, The Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act lays out a guide for you to take your life back. The Maritime Industry Law Firm can help fight for your rights under this act.

The Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act

If you’re a longtime maritime worker, chances are you’ve heard of The Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act, or LHWCA. However, you might not be familiar with all the details. That’s what we’re here to help with.

The Department of Labor defines the LHWCA act as follows:

The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) is a federal law that provides for the payment of compensation, medical care, and vocational rehabilitation services to employees disabled from on-the-job injuries that occur on the navigable waters of the United States, or in adjoining areas customarily used in the loading, unloading, repairing, or building of a vessel.

In the case of the LHWCA, an injury includes occupational diseases, hearing loss, and illnesses that may arise directly from maritime employment. 

In addition to providing compensation to disabled employees, the LHWCA also outlines payments to the family and dependents of workers who pass away on the job.

The LHWCA states that the injured worker’s employer, or their private insurance company, covers compensation.

Am I covered by the LHWCA as a New Orleans offshore worker?

Who exactly does the LHWCA cover? Are you covered by the LHWCA? 

Per the Department of Labor, the LHWCA covers employees in “traditional” maritime occupations.

This includes:

  • Longshore workers
  • Ship repairers
  • Shipbuilders or ship-breakers
  • Harber construction workers

Since the act’s inception, Congress has also extended LHWCA coverage to certain military and government employees, those who work on the U.S.’s Outer Continental Shelf, and civilian employees of non-appropriated fund instrumentalities of the armed forces.

In addition to occupation, the LHWCA specifies locations where injuries must occur, in order for a worker to be eligible for LHWCA coverage. Injuries must occur on the “navigable waters of the U.S. or in the adjoining areas.”

These include:

  • Piers
  • Docks
  • Terminals
  • Wharves
  • Areas used in loading and unloading vessels

Who is excluded by the LHWCA?

The LHWCA does not extend to all who work on the sea.

The law has critical distinctions, and excludes the following:

  • Seamen
  • Employees of U.S. federal or state governments, or of foreign governments
  • Employees whose injuries were caused by their intoxication
  • Employees whose injuries were caused by their own willful intention to harm themselves or others

At times, maritime employers or their insurance companies may attempt to prove a worker’s injuries were caused by one of the above, to lower or dodge claims.

The LHWCA also excludes certain individuals covered by a state workers’ compensation law. This may include individuals employed by a club, camp, or restaurant; individuals employed to build recreational vessels under 65 in length; aquaculture workers, and others.

Contact The Maritime Injury Law Firm today

At The Maritime Injury Law Firm, we help injured offshore workers fight for the fullest compensation that they’re entitled to. New Orleans, Louisiana attorney George Vourvoulias has over 20 years of experience working tirelessly for the rights of injured maritime workers.

Contact him and his team today for a free and confidential consultation about the compensation you may be owed for your injury.

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