What Benefits Are Provided by the LHWCA?
The Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act (LHWCA) provides benefits and legal protections to roughly half a million maritime and offshore workers. Last month, we discussed how offshore workers can determine if they are covered by the LHWCA. Not all offshore workers qualify under the LHWCA, but those who do are entitled to certain benefits if they are injured on the job.
What Benefits Are Provided By The LHWCA?
Workers who qualify under the LHWCA are entitled to the following benefits:
- Medical Expenses – Under the LHWCA, workers are entitled to compensation for required medical treatment resulting from an employment related injury. This includes the cost of any surgeries that must be performed, rehabilitation costs, prescriptions medicines, etc. In some cases, workers can also be reimbursed for other expenses related to medical treatment such as travel costs to and from treatment facilities.
- Lost Wages – Even workers who fully recover from their injury typically are forced to miss work during their recovery process. The LHWCA entitles the worker to compensation for a portion of the wages they were unable to earn while injured. Additionally, some injuries are so severe that workers are unable to return to work or only able to return in a reduced capacity. Future wages that would have been earned if not for the injury are covered under the LHWCA as well.
- Death Benefits – The LHCWA provides death benefits to spouses and surviving children of workers who were killed on the job. The amount will vary in each case, but it is generally based on the deceased worker's weekly wages. Death benefits can also include up to $3,000 for funeral expenses.
Third Party Claims
In addition to compensation sought under the LHWCA, injured workers may also be able to seek compensation from a third party. If a third party's negligence was responsible for the injury, it could be held liable. For example, if you are injured while loading or unloading a ship because of an unsafe condition created by the vessel owner or crew, the vessel owner could potentially be a liable third party.
Identifying negligent third parties can be difficult, so it is always best to consult with a maritime attorney to determine if you have a third party claim in addition to your LHWCA claim.
Filing a LHCWA Claim
If you have been injured while working offshore and believe you may qualify for compensation under the LHWCA, contact an experienced maritime attorney as soon as possible. At Arnold & Itkin, we have helped injured offshore workers all throughout the country recover compensation for their injuries. We can help you determine whether you qualify under the LHCWA and discuss your legal rights. Contact our firm today for a free consultation.