What You Should Know about the LHWCA

A worker at the Port of Houston suffered non-life-threatening injuries last week when she sustained a fall in the cargo hold of a vessel. There are few details available about this maritime accident, but it appears that the female worker had a fall in the cargo hold, and had to be extricated by firefighters using a restraining basket. Injured port workers like longshoreman and dockworkers may be covered under the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act. These workers don't meet the definition of a Jones Act seaman, and may be considered for compensation under the LHWCA instead. However, in order to be eligible for compensation under the LHWCA, the injured worker must be able to prove both status and situs. Status refers to the kind of work that the employee was performing at a given time. The work should be traditional Longshore work, and the worker should be engaged in performing such work at the time of the injury. Situs refers to the location of the injury. Injuries must have occurred on or near navigable waters. Under the LHWCA, the worker does not need to prove that an accident occurred for him to be compensated for his injuries. In this respect, the LHWCA does work in a manner that is more similar to Workers' Compensation laws, than the Jones Act. Under the Jones Act, the injured worker has to prove negligence of the employer or the owner of the vessel in order to be eligible for compensation. There are no requirements like this in place for workers under the LHWCA. Compensation for workers under the LHWCA can depend on whether the injuries are scheduled or non-scheduled injuries. The LHWCA categorizes injuries depend on the part of the body that these involve. Injuries that involve the shoulder, back and neck are called non-scheduled injuries. Injuries that involve the knee, foot, hand, arm, fingers and eyes are scheduled injuries. If you are an injured dockworker, longshoreman, port worker or any other maritime worker, you may be eligible for compensation under the Longshore and Harbor Worker's Compensation Act. Consult with a maritime attorney at my office for an initial evaluation of your case.

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