If you are injured as a maritime worker in the United States, your right to workers’ compensation is found in the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA). In fact, some of the benefits under the LHWCA are more favorable than under most states workers’ compensation schemes. To be eligible for those benefits, though, you must first meet what is known as the “status” test. This requires that you show that the type of work you were engaged in at the time of your injury entitles you to benefits under the Act.

The Requirements to Meet the LHWCA’s Status Test

To qualify for benefits under the LHWCA, you must prove that the activity you were involved in at the time of your accident constituted “maritime” work. Employees in some occupations almost always meet the status test. If you are employed loading and unloading cargo ships or vessels, you will generally be covered, even if the ship never enters navigable waters. Furthermore, if you are employed to repair, build or tear down a ship on navigable waters, you qualify for benefits under the LHWCA. Truck drivers who haul shipping containers from cargo ships (as well as the mechanics who maintain and repair those trucks) can also seek benefits under the LHWCA.

You must, however, typically show that a significant part of your job has something to do with either marine transport, or with the water. Accordingly, if you work exclusively or primarily in an administrative capacity, you probably won’t qualify.

There are also some specific exclusions under the LHWCA, including:

  • Officers and crew members of a ship (these individuals can seek damages under the Jones Act for any injuries suffered)
  • Marina employees who are not involved in construction, repair, replacement or expansion of marina facilities
  • Persons employed to build, repair or maintain recreational vehicles less than 65 feet long
  • Workers in fish farming operations

Contact Uliase & Uliase

At Uliase & Uliase, we have a thorough understanding of the federal workers’ compensation laws. If you have been hurt on the job and want to schedule an appointment, contact our office online or call us at 856-310-9002. We will meet with you weekdays between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. We offer a free consultation for injured workers.