Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act
The Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act or LHWCA is a unique body of law that controls the benefits owed to workers injured on fixed offshore platforms and the docks and harbors of Louisiana. Louisiana has thousands of workers who fall within the scope of the benefits provided in the LHWCA. Workers like welders, fitters, floorhands, drillers, tool pushers and the like may be entitled to the protection of the Act. These benefits include medical expenses, weekly pay benefits, job retraining and death benefits. It is important to talk with an attorney who knows your rights and can fight to ensure that you are treated fairly. At the Welborn & Hargett, we know the law and how to put it to work in your favor.
In addition to the compensation benefits available to you, a person injured as a result of negligence, may be entitled to sue the vessel’s owner for any negligence causing injury. This would provide you with a cause of action similar to the Jones Act in that you would be able to recover damages for pain and suffering, mental and emotional anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, and past and future lost wages if you are injured as a result of negligence. The injured longshoremen would be able to recover these additional damages on top of the weekly benefits and medical benefits owed under the act. This provides the injured worker substantial recovery that would otherwise not be available under many bodies of law.
Under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA): Any person working on a fixed platform off of the coast of Louisiana would qualify as longshoremen, by operation of the OCSLA. This means that any person injured on one of these offshore platforms should qualify to receive the increased benefits under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, rather than settling for state workers’ compensation. In addition, any person engaged in the loading or unloading of vessels, ship building, ship repair or ship servicing, should qualify as a longshoremen and harbor worker. If you are engaged in the maritime industry, in any capacity other than as a crew member aboard a vessel, you should contact the Welborn & Hargett, to find out if you qualify for the increased workers’ compensation benefits.