Longshoremen, LHWCA, and Third Party Claims
Recovering Benefits Under the LHWCA
When a longshoreman or harbor worker is injured or made ill while at work, they have several options for recovering compensation. One option is to recover benefits under the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act (LHWCA), which is a no-fault system similar to state workers' compensation. Employers are immune from a direct lawsuit and workers do not need to worry who caused the accident. Instead, workers receive benefits quickly—usually without further dispute. In cases where the employer cancels compensation or refuses to pay, the maritime worker will need to involve the Department of Labor; it is beneficial to have legal representation at this time.
Benefits available under LHWCA include:
- Medical Care
- Disability Compensation
- Permanent & Temporary Total Disability
- Permanent Partial Disability
- Temporary Partial & Non-Scheduled Permanent Partial Disability
- Permanent Partial Disability for Retirees
- Death Benefits
Can an injured longshoreman file a third party claim?
If a longshoreman was injured by a third party that was not their employer or a co-worker, they may have the option of filing a third party lawsuit to recover damages. Third party cases are covered under Chapter 3-600 of the Longshore Procedure Manual, which provides the injured employee with the following three options:
- File a claim for compensation
- File a civil suit against the third party for negligence
- Pursue both above actions simultaneously
There are rules in place to prevent an employee from recovering benefits under the Act as well as proceeds from a successful negligence suit, which would effectively provide double compensation for the same injury. The same rules also provide protection to the employee when they receive a settlement in their negligence action that is less than they would have been entitled to receive in compensation benefits under the LHWCA.
If you have questions about filing a claim under the LHWCA or a third party claim, call us today!