Understanding Longshore Compensation Act 'LHWCA'

From Houston, Galveston, and the Golden Triangle of many other Gulf ports, thousands of dock and harbor workers play an integral role in the efficient movement of goods and supplies in ship based trade. Although these individuals may not spend a majority of their time working on a ship, their responsibilities of stevedoring operations and ship repair work make them an important part of the maritime industry and the American economy. As any dockworker, longshoreman, and cargo surveyor knows these jobs are fraught with dangers due to the heavy equipment, the movement of cargo, condition of ships, and many other factors. While injuries are rare, they do happen, whether through the fault of an employer, or negligence of the ship. In those trying times, it can be difficult for the individual to understand their rights and remedies under the law. If an individual who works at the Port of Houston, Port of Galveston, Port Arthur, or Beaumont experiences and an on the job injury, it is important to seek the counsel of an experienced longshore attorney who can assist with the complex remedies available under the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act, 33 U.S.C. § 901, et al, also known as the longshore Act or the LHWCA.

Dock and harbor workers who happen to become injured while on the job may be eligible to file a claim for disability and compensation payments under the Longshore Act. Under the Longshore Act, a maritime worker who is classified as a longshoreman or harbor worker is entitled to a set of statutorily prescribed benefits under a workers’ compensation type scheme of recovery. These workers receive these benefits from their employers rather than having to seek damages in an ordinary tort based lawsuit against their employer.

In addition to permitting recovery for the necessary medical treatment and supplies, the Longshore Act provides for the payment of two-thirds of a dockworker, longshoreman, or other employees who work at the ports an average weekly wage during the period of disability. A longshoreman may be entitled to these benefits for different kinds of disabilities including permanent partial, permanent total, temporary partial, and temporary total disability. These disability benefits can sometimes be greater than a state’s ordinary workers’ compensation benefits.

Although the Longshore Act prevents an injured employee from filing suit against their employer, longshoremen and harbor workers can still file a lawsuit against a vessel owner if the negligence of the vessel caused the longshoreman’s injury.

Additionally, the Longshore Act extends its compensation system to offshore rig workers who are injured or become disabled while on the job under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act. If you have been injured while on an oil rig, or if a family member died while working on one, you may be eligible to seek a recovery for benefits under the Longshore Act.

If you are a maritime worker who has been injured while on the job it is important that you seek out legal counsel soon so that you can ensure proper notice is given to your employer and receive a recommendation on whether any secondary action is needed. Our maritime attorneys possess an extensive experience in Longshore Act claims and can be reached 1.800.862.1260 or by email to discuss your claim with you at no obligation.

If you or a loved one was injured anywhere on the Gulf Coast, call our Law Firm with offices in Beaumont, Galveston, Houston, Victoria, Rockport, Corpus Christi, the Valley or San Antonio we are here to help. Call 1.800.862.1260

Visits with the Attorney are by appointment only. Main office San Antonio, Texas.

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