How to Determine If Your Offshore Injury Is Covered by the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act
Offshore workers are generally protected by two separate acts under maritime law. The most common act is known as the Jones Act. The Jones Act was established in 1920 to offer legal protections to offshore workers. However, to qualify under the Jones Act, an offshore worker must meet a specific set of criteria that eliminates some workers from Jones Act protections.
Longshore & Harbor Workers' Compensation Act
Fortunately, offshore workers who do not qualify under the Jones Act may still be able to seek compensation under the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act (LHWCA). The LHWCA was enacted to protect workers who do not qualify as a "seaman" under the Jones Act and are also excluded from their state's workers' compensation program.
How Do I Know If I Qualify Under the LHWCA?
Like the Jones Act, the LHWCA has a specific set of criteria a worker must meet to qualify for compensation. Answering the following questions will help you determine if you are covered by the LHWCA.
Are you a maritime worker?
The LHWCA only covers workers in the maritime industry. This includes longshoremen, harbor workers, and ship workers. Additionally, the LHWCA may also cover workers who repair or maintain equipment that is used for loading and unloading vessels. If you are unsure if you qualify as a maritime worker, you should consult with a maritime attorney for clarification.
Did your injury occur on navigable waters or an adjoining area?
The LHWCA covers injuries that occur offshore. However, that can also include adjoining areas, such as loading docks, ship yards, piers, and wharves. If you did not sustain your injury offshore or in an adjacent area, you will not be covered by the LHWCA.
Did your injury occur within the scope of your employment?
This simply means that your injury must have occurred while engaging in activities related to your employment. Generally speaking, if you answered yes to the above questions, you may be covered by the LHWCA. However, it is always best to consult with a maritime attorney to determine whether or not you qualify.
Consulting with a Maritime Attorney
Arnold & Itkin LLP represents maritime workers all across the country. We offer free consultations to all maritime workers to discuss their legal options if they have been injured on the job. Contact our maritime attorneys today to learn how we can help you.