Workers' Compensation Benefits For The Longshoreman

Posted on: 16 January 2015

If you are a longshoreman or harbor worker who was injured on the job, there is a federal law in place that helps to ensure that you receive workers' compensation benefits. In order to receive benefits, you have to meet the requirements of two eligibility tests. 

Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act

The Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act, or LHWCA, applies to longshoremen and harbor workers. It also covers workers in shipping terminals, shipyards, and the docks. Under the act, you can apply for benefits that cover your medical bills and provide weekly financial compensation.

Filing for benefits under the act does not exclude you from filing for benefits through your state's compensation plan. You can apply for both programs, but you cannot receive payments from both. It is important to note that benefits under the federal act are better than the state. You receive more compensation and can receive permanent partial disability benefits.

Status Test

The first eligibility test which you have to pass to receive benefits under LHWCA is the status test. The status test applies to the type of work that you were doing for your employer. At the time of your accident, you must have been employed in a position that required you to do maritime work.

For instance, if you were a ship repairman or helped with unloading vessels, you would qualify for benefits. Workers who work strictly in the office are not eligible for benefits under the act. 

Situs Test

The situs, or location, test applies to where you primarily worked with the employer. You are only eligible if you worked near, adjacent, or on navigable water. This can apply to the dry docks, wharfs, terminals, and any other location at which maritime work occurred. 

This particular test can be tricky to pass. Some shipyards and terminals can extend out into the neighborhoods adjoining the main area. In this instance, the further from the navigable water you are the, the more unlikely it is you can qualify for benefits under the LHWCA.

An administrative judge will ultimately decide if you are or are not qualified if your rights to benefits are reviewed and denied. Just as with the state's workers' compensation program, you have the right to ask for an appeal of a denial. 

A workers' compensation attorney in your area, such as  J. Bradley Baker, LLC, will be most familiar with the LHWCA and how it applies to your particular situation. Talk to an attorney before filing to increase the odds that your application is accepted.