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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The Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act is a federal act passed by the US Congress in 1927 and covers employees in occupations having a traditional relationship to maritime employment. The Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act is a comprehensive workers' compensation scheme for maritime workers who are injured on navigable waters.
The law fills a gap that exists between the Jones Act, which protects seamen, and state workers' compensation, which cover injuries occurring within a particular state, but not usually on navigable water. It initially provided coverage to longshore workers working upon navigable waters of the United States in instances in which no state workers compensation law applied. The Act was substantially amended in 1984 in an attempt to give all longshore and harbor workers the same type of protection.
The compensation system is administered by the Office of Workers' Compensation Programs, Employment Standards Administration and Department of Labor. Injured workers who qualify for coverage are entitled to disability benefits. Under the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act, to receive benefits the worker does not need to prove that the employer was at fault for the worker's injuries much like state Workers' Compensation laws.
The Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act provides workers' compensation benefits for maritime workers who are not seamen. These benefits include disability payments and rehabilitation services. The act also provides benefits to survivors when a maritime worker dies from work-related injuries. The 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. If a worker is injured on a vessel, there may be a claim of negligence against the vessel and its owner. However, the worker is not permitted to allege a claim of unseaworthiness, because that claim is reserved to seamen. The Act also offers benefits to dependents if the injury causes the employee's death. The term "injury" includes occupational disease arising out of employment.
Employers of covered employees are responsible for insuring the payment of compensation and medical benefits to injured employees.
Private insurance carriers or employers who are authorized by the Department of Labor to become self-insured provide this insurance. While a Special Fund administered by the Department of Labor may pay benefits in certain circumstances, authorized insurance carriers, and self-insured employers fund most benefits under the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act.