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How does the LHWCA work?

On Behalf of | May 23, 2022 | Maritime Law |

The Longshore and Harbor Worker’s Compensation Act provides protection for workers injured on the job in the maritime industry. It is like the workers’ compensation program for the industry because traditional programs do not cover it.

The U.S. Department of Labor explains the LHWCA gives you options for compensation and other benefits after a work accident.


If you need to use the LHWCA, you will file a claim. You must let your supervisor know about the injury and get medical care as soon as possible. You have one year to file the claim form and request benefits. You should file it as soon as possible. If you have a long-term injury that does not result from an accident, make sure to file as soon as you become aware that your job caused the injury or condition.


Under the LHWCA, you can get benefits if you suffer an injury while working on US waters. You do not have to be on the water at the time as the benefits extend to injuries at docks or before setting sail. The act does have some exceptions, but your employer should be able to clarify.

The LHWCA provides typical benefits such as compensation for lost work time and medical payments. You may also get rehabilitation benefits. If you die, your family would be able to claim death benefits.

Similar to workers’ compensation in other industries, the LHWCA benefits are insurance your employer purchases and maintains. Collecting benefits under the act allow you to avoid a lawsuit and go to court, which can speed up the delivery of your benefits.