As an injured maritime worker, you may wonder what your rights are. The sudden loss of income and the need for ongoing medical care can be overwhelming, which is why it’s important to learn more about workers’ comp laws and discuss your options with an attorney. This can help you move forward, get the compensation you need, and focus on your recovery.
Ready to learn more about your options? Turn to the team at Fuquay Law Firm. Call us at 251-219-0329 to set up a consultation now.
Compensation Under the LHWCA
Compensation amounts and limits vary slightly between state workers’ compensation and the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act. While many states limit workers’ comp to 60% of an employee’s wages, Alabama is one state that allows workers to receive two-thirds of their weekly wages. Under the LHWCA, injured longshore workers can also receive two-thirds of their income. However, limits vary. Under Alabama law, the maximum amount of workers’ compensation paid on a weekly basis in the second half of 2021 is $983 per week. Under the LHWCA, the maximum amount of compensation paid through the third quarter of 2021 is $1632.70 per week.
The LHWCA also allows workers to receive permanent partial disability benefits, temporary partial disability benefits, temporary total disability, and permanent total disability.
Who Oversees Compensation
The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act was established by the U.S. Congress, and as a federal program, it is regulated by the U.S. Department of Labor. Each state has the right to create its own workers’ compensation system, which leads to differences between state requirements, payment limits, and processes.
Who Qualifies for Compensation Under the LHWCA
Many people want to qualify for compensation under the LHWCA, since the payment amounts are often higher than they are through the state’s workers’ compensation program. However, not everyone qualifies for payments under the LHWCA. The status and situs tests determine whether or not an employee can receive LHWCA benefits.
The status test looks at the type of work that the injured employee did prior to their injury. The goal is to decide whether or not the worker’s duties were maritime in nature. This includes longshoremen, those who load vessels, shipbuilders, shipbreakers, and repair professionals. However, it excludes employees of marinas and stevedores who do office work.
Other people excluded under the LHWCA include shipbuilders who put together recreational boats that are less than 65 feet long, mechanics for recreational vessels, fish farming workers, many employees of marinas, and captains and crew members of water vessels. Those in the final category receive compensation under the Jones Act.
The second test is the situs test, which looks at where the injured employee does their work. The LHWCA covers those who work on, near, or next to navigable bodies of water. This includes those who work on wharves, piers, terminals, and dry docks. This terminology is a bit vague, because determining what is “next to” a body of water is a challenge. Most LHWCA judges believe that if you are working more than one mile from the shipyard or terminal, you are not covered under LHWCA.
Your Next Step as an Injured Worker
Determining whether you should apply for benefits under the LHWCA or workers’ compensation can be confusing, especially if you’re under pressure to seek medical care, figure out where your next paycheck will come from, and take care of your family. That’s why it is often helpful to talk to an attorney who handles workers’ compensation cases and maritime workers’ compensation claims. By talking to a maritime injury attorney, you can determine whether or not you meet the strict requirements to apply for compensation under the LHWCA or Jones Act. Your attorney can also help you avoid common pitfalls and get the compensation you are due.
Find Out How Fuquay Law Firm Can Help
If you believe you qualify for benefits under the LHWCA, talking to the team at Fuquay Law Firm can help you clarify your next steps and get the compensation you are owed. We’re here to talk to you about your claim and provide the guidance and support you need. Give us a call at 251-219-0329 or contact us to set up a time to talk.