Congress enacted the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act in 1927, providing workers’ compensation benefits to people who work in the maritime industry on or adjacent to the navigable waters of the United States. The provisions of the act provide benefits to most people who work on docks or in shipping operations across the country. The act has also been extended, through the Defense Base Act, to provide coverage to civilian employees on U.S. military bases around the world.

Determining Whether You Are Eligible for LHWCA Benefits

To qualify for benefits under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, you must satisfy two tests: the status test and the situs test.

The status test looks at the type of work that you perform. Under the LHWCA, that work must include “maritime” duties. The law does not require that all of your employment be maritime-related, but mandates that some of your work “contribute to the maritime nature” of your employer’s business. As a result, even if you are not working on a dock, you may have coverage if your employer is involved in a maritime business. For example, if you only drive a truck, but your employer ships goods on the navigable waters of the United States, you may be entitled to benefits if injured.

Masters or members of a ship are not covered by the LHWCA, but can pursue benefits under the federal Jones Act.

The situs test considers where the injury occurred. To qualify under the LHWCA, you must work on, near or adjacent to the navigable waters of the United States. Any injuries suffered while on a boat in navigable waters meet the situs test, as do injuries sustained in adjoining docks, terminal, wharves or piers. As a general rule, most courts hold that injuries incurred a mile of more away from either navigable waters or adjoining maritime facilities do not meet the situs test.

Contact Uliase & Uliase

For an appointment with an experienced New Jersey federal workers’ compensation lawyer, contact us online or call our office at 856-310-9002. We meet with clients weekdays between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. We offer a free consultation for injured workers.