The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act is a federal workers’ compensation program. In addition to longshore workers and shipyard workers, it covers many other workers in maritime trades and through extensions, such as the Defense Base Act and the Non-Appropriated Funds Instrumentalities Act, it covers civilians working with our military.
For example, interpreters and security personnel working with our military in Iraq and Afghanistan and domestically on post exchanges and in service clubs.
Coverage end of the act is no-fault. That means you don’t have to sue your employer and you don’t have to show that your employer did anything wrong.
It doesn’t matter whether the accident was your fault, somebody else’s fault, or nobody’s fault. If you were injured on the job or became ill because of your job, you’re entitled to benefits under the act.
Covered workers are entitled to full medical care with a doctor of their choice. They’re also entitled to compensation benefits for temporary and permanent disability.
The compensation rate under the act, is two-thirds of the worker’s average weekly wage. That’s calculated based on his gross or pre-tax earnings, not the net. And the compensation rate is limited by a maximum, but that maximum is adjusted annually every October.
Temporary disability benefits are due while you’re off work and recovering from an injury or an illness. If you don’t recover completely, you may also be entitled to permanent disability benefits. The way permanent disability benefits are calculated under the act is a really complex topic and we’re going to deal with that separately in another video.
Under the Longshore Act your employer is supposed to voluntarily provide all of these benefits to you. Many times they do. But when they don’t, you may have to hire a lawyer to file a claim and enforce your rights.
Lawyers under the Longshore Act will represent you on a contingent fee basis. That means you don’t have to pay the cost of litigation or the attorney’s fees up front.
And, under the act, if that lawyer is successful in getting you benefits that your employer didn’t voluntarily provide, the employer can be ordered to pay all of the attorney’s fees and you may have to pay nothing for your lawyer at all.
My name’s Charles Naylor and I’m a Maritime Personal Injury Lawyer. For 35 years, my firm has been handing claims under the Longshore Act and its extensions, and in those years we’ve handled thousands of such claims.
If you have questions about a claim under the Longshore Act, we have the experience to help you answer those questions.
And, we’re always available for a no-cost, no-obligation consultation to help you understand your rights.