What is the Longshore Act?
The Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act (LHWCA), often referred to as the “Longshore Act”, provides a federal workers’ comp remedy for injured longshoremen. Benefits are administered by the Division of Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation (DLHWC), a division of the Office of Workers Compensation Programs (OWCP) within the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). If the dispute is not resolved by informal hearing with the OWCP, the District Director will refer the matter to the Office of Administrative Law Judges (OALJ) for adjudication by and ALJ. Appeals from the OALJ are taken to the Benefits Review Board (BRB).
Who is a longshoreman or harbor worker?
Generally, if you work loading, unloading, building, repairing, or breaking vessels, you fall under the Act. These jobs often include stevedores, crane operators, forklift operators, rail workers, ship fitters, and more. If you are injured while working on navigable waterway or an adjoining area such as a port, wharf, dock, pier, dry dock, shipyard, or rail yard, you may be entitled to benefits under the Longshore Act.
Section 905(b) vessel negligence:
Maritime workers injured on a vessel who do not qualify for seaman status may sue a vessel owner, including his or her employer, for negligence under Section 905(b) of the Longshore Act. This remedy permits an injured worker to recover damages when he was injured because the vessel was turned over in an unreasonably dangerous condition or the actions of vessel owner caused the worker’s injuries.
Hearing loss claims:
Many longshoremen are unaware that they are due compensation and medical benefits under the Longshore Act for any ratable hearing loss they suffer while employed as a longshoreman. Hearing loss is a scheduled injury, meaning that total monaural (one ear) hearing loss entitles the injured worker to 52 weeks of compensation, while total binaural (both ears) hearing loss entitles the worker to 200 weeks of compensation. The amount of compensation an injured worker receives is pro-rated according to his or her impairment rating which is determined via an audiogram. For instance, if your audiologist finds that you have 20% binaural hearing loss, you would be entitled to 40 weeks of disability compensation at your calculated compensation rate of two-thirds your AWW.
If you suspect that you may have hearing loss and have worked as a longshoreman or on offshore oil rigs, call us today for a free consultation.
What is OCSLA?
The Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA) is an extension of the Longshore Act that covers injured workers aboard most offshore oil and gas rigs and platforms. Under OCSLA, offshore oilfield workers are entitled to the same benefits as longshoremen.