Enacted in 1927, the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act compensates for lost wages, medical benefits, and rehabilitation services to longshore, harbor and other maritime workers who are injured during their employment or who contract an occupational disease related to employment. Survivor benefits are also provided if the work-related injury or disease causes the employee’s death.
Who is covered
The LHWCA a federal workers’ compensation act that provides benefits for certain types of maritime employees and for civilian employees on military bases worldwide. With respect to maritime employees, the LHWCA covers longshoremen, harbor workers, and most other people who work on docks, shipping terminals, shipyards or on navigable waters.
Longshore versus State Compensation Benefits
The LHWCA is administered by the United State Department of Labor. It provides benefits similar to those offered under New York Compensation Law. In many cases, however, indemnity (meaning “money”) benefits under the LHWCA are higher than those payable under the New York State Compensation Law. Currently, the weekly maximum benefit under the LWHCA is $1471.78 (through September 30, 2018) which is significantly higher than the maximum rate payable weekly under state compensation. Moreover, benefits payable under the LWHCA might last longer than those payable under state law which are often subject to statutory durational limits.
There may be instances where an injury may be covered both under state law and under the LHWCA. An injured worker generally cannot receive benefits from both state and federal workers’ compensation. Therefore, the injured worker covered under both statutes will be required to elect to collect benefits only under one. Therefore, it is important to recognize and identify which statute applies so there is no delay in obtaining the maximum benefit for the injuries.
What to do if you are injured
Notify your employer immediately. If you need medical treatment, ask your employer for a Form LS-1 , which authorizes treatment by a doctor of your choice.
Obtain necessary medical treatment as soon as possible.
Give written notice of your injury within 30 days to your employer on Form LS-201 . Notice of death must also be given within 30 days. Additional time is provided for certain hearing loss and occupational disease claims. Contact your nearest OWCP district office for additional information regarding these types of claims.
File a written claim for compensation on Form LS-203 within one year after the date of injury or last payment of compensation, whichever is later. A claim for survivor benefits must be filed within one year after the date of death.
What Happens After a Claim is Filed
Medical Benefits – If you suffered an injury at work, your employer, or its insurance company, should pay for the medical treatment required for your injury.
Disability Compensation – If you lost more than three days from work and sustained wage loss, your employer, or its insurance company, should pay you compensation for the lost time. If you believe you have sustained a permanent disability or impairment as a result of your injury, you are advised to file a written claim on Form LS-203 within one year of the injury or one year from the date of last payment of compensation.
What Grey & Grey does for the injured longshore worker…
We will identify whether your claim falls under the LHWCA or under state compensation law and discuss with you what benefits you can reasonably expect under both.
We will provide you with all the forms you need to file your claim, and we will file the claim for you after the paperwork is complete.
The insurance company is not defenseless. It can and often will arrange examinations with medical consultants and vocational experts to obtain opinions about whether you are capable of working or need medical treatment. After such an exam, you may be notified that your payments have been suspended or reduced or that the insurance company is denying further medical treatment. When disputes arise, we will request conferences and present your case before the Department of Labor where either a case examiner or an administrative law judge will hear and decide the issues.
We want to obtain the best possible result for you in your workers’ compensation claim. We will track your claim from beginning to end, explain your rights under the law and what is needed to win your case, and work with you to get the necessary documents or evidence. Our goal is for you to receive the benefits to which you are entitled.