The LHWCA is a form of Federal Worker’s Compensation. The Act is a statutory compromise between employer’s exposure to the injured employees’ claim for common law tort damages and the employees’ risks to receiving no compensation where negligence is not found. The Act provides benefits to injured workers regardless of fault (negligence).
Coverage under the LHWCA depends upon the location of the employment (situs) and the nature of the work (status). The Act applies to employees working in part or whole upon navigable waters of the United States, including adjoining piers, wharves, dry docks, terminals, building ways, offshore platforms and rigs, or other adjoining areas.
The employee has the initial burden of showing that he was injured, the injury was work related and that it resulted in a disability. Aggravations of pre-existing injuries are covered. Upon such a showing, the burden shifts to the employer. The act also has a presumption that an injured workers injuries were caused by the accident.
Benefits under the LHWCA include compensation, medical expenses and reimbursement for mileage. Compensation is determined by calculation of average weekly wage (AWW), which is then multiplied by 2/3 which results in the amount of compensation that the injured worker is entitled.
The Act provides compensation based upon the nature and the extent of the disability. It is possible for an injury to be classified as Temporary Total Disability (TTD), Temporary Partial Disability (TPD), Permanent Total Disability (PTD) and Permanent Partial Disability (PPD). Disability is determined by impairment to wage earning capacity. In many cases, the date that the injured worker reaches maximum medical improvement (MMI) is important as it marks the point in time in which it is determined whether or not the disability is permanent in nature.
The LHWCA contains “schedules” which list the amount of compensation payable for loss of certain body parts. If a scheduled body part is injured, the compensation payable for that injury is determined by multiplying the percentage of impairment to the body part by the number of weeks wages listed in the schedule. If the employee suffered injuries which are off of the schedule, compensation is determined by calculation of loss of earning capacity as a result of the injury. If an injured employee’s injury concerns both a scheduled and unscheduled body part, the employee has the option of election of proceeding under the schedule or as a general injury.
It is critical in LHWCA cases to determine whether there is a responsible third party. While the LHWCA applies to employers, it does not provide protection to third parties. By payment of compensation under the Longshore Act, the employer acquires a lien against any recovery against a responsible third party for full reimbursement. A responsible third party may be anyone including a responsible vessel. It is critical that injured workers retain attorneys who understand how to reduce the amount of that lien which simply eats into the amount of money that the worker will obtain. Attorney Brian White has have extensive experience in handling Longshore cases and knows how to obtain the best possible outcome for his clients.
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed while working upon navigable waters of the United States, including adjoining piers, wharves, dry docks, terminals, building ways, offshore platforms and rigs, or other adjoining areas, please call attorney Brian White today and start getting answers. We represent union and non-union workers.
No matter where you live, our Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation lawyers can give you the immediate help you need. There is no obligation and the initial phone call is free of charge. Call us today, toll free at (877) 551-3212.