Longshore Harbor Workers Compensation Act
Maritime Law Overview
Seaman's Information Regarding Maritime Injury
While on the water, people find themselves in situations that could end in accident or injury.
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An employee who is injured on the job must file notice of injury to the employer within 30 days of the injury. The employee must give notice to the employer even when the employee develops a disabling condition or illness that is work related. A formal Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act claim for benefits must be filed with the Department of Labor within one year from the date of injury. An employer can dispute the claim or begin voluntary payment within fourteen days of the accident. If an employer disputes the claim there is a conciliation procedure designed to help the parties come to an agreement. If the parties cannot resolve the problem, an administrative law judge (ALJ) working for the Department will conduct a hearing and render a decision.
The Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act also allows an injured worker to sue persons or entities, other than the employer or a co-worker, whom the worker believes to be at fault for his or her injuries. The worker is not permitted to allege a claim of unseaworthiness, because that claim is reserved to seamen.
The Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act covers injuries that occur during maritime employment on navigable waters of the United States. Maritime employment includes the loading/unloading vessels, repairing vessels and building a vessel. Navigable waters include places beyond where a boat could float - places on land that adjoin water, areas near a pier or wharf, areas for loading, unloading, repairing, or building vessels.
The Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act is applicable to employers who employ workers for maritime work or in a maritime occupation, either full or part-time, on the navigable waters of the United States or in adjoining waterfront areas. It covers employees engaged in maritime work or in maritime occupation including longshoreman or longshoring operations and any harbor worker, including a ship-repairman, ship-builder and ship-breaker.
The Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act does not cover the following persons if they are covered by a state workers' compensation law:
- Individuals employed exclusively to perform office clerical, secretarial, security, or data processing work;
- Individuals employed by a club, camp, recreational operation, restaurant, museum, or retail outlet;
- Individuals employed by a marina and who are not engaged in construction, replacement, or expansion of such marina (except for routine maintenance);
- Individuals who are employed by suppliers, transporters, or vendors, and are temporarily doing business on the premises of a maritime employer, and are not engaged in work normally performed by employees of that employer covered under this Act;
- Aquaculture workers;
- Individuals employed to build, repair, or dismantle any recreational vessel under sixty-five feet in length;
- Small vessel workers if exempt by certification of the Secretary of Labor under certain conditions.
The Act also does not cover the following persons:
- A master or member of a crew of any vessel;
- Any person engaged by a master to load or unload or repair any small vessel under eighteen tons net; and
- Employees of the United States government or of any state or foreign government.