For most people, a workers’ compensation case is relatively straightforward. When you suffer an on-the-job injury, you should be able to recover workers’ comp benefits. However, the system is different for those who work on or near waterways. Federal maritime law applies to many work-related injury cases on the water. It’s important to understand which laws apply to your case so you can successfully recover the benefits you need.
Who’s covered and who’s not
The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) applies to workers in traditional maritime occupations. This includes:
- Longshore workers
- Ship repairers
- Harbor construction workers
To be eligible for coverage under the LHWCA, injuries must occur on navigable waters or nearby areas, such as piers, docks, or terminals. Non-maritime workers may also be covered under the LHWCA if they are injured while working on navigable waters.
The LHWCA generally does not cover crews who work on seafaring vessels. The Jones Act typically applies to injuries suffered by crew members. In addition, people covered under the state’s workers’ compensation laws are not eligible for LHWCA benefits. This could include transporters and suppliers who do not typically work on the harbor or dock and others employed in the surrounding area.
Why it matters
Understanding the law that applies to your case is essential. The statute of limitations may be different for various claims. Miss your deadline, and you may have no other options. A skilled legal professional can let you know which law applies to your case and can help walk you through this process one step at a time.