American workers on the waters and coasts of our country deserve just as much employment protection as anyone. The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) covers injuries these maritime employees might sustain on the job.
Covering those working on the navigable waters of the U.S. and related areas, the LHWCA works similarly to traditional workers’ compensation programs. As such, some workers may find some tips helpful navigating the necessary paperwork.
Steps to filing an LHWCA claim
To be eligible for coverage under the LHWCA, a worker must meet the standards under the Office of Working Compensation Plans (OWCP). Traditional maritime occupations covered include longshoremen, ship maintenance crew, shipbuilders and shipbreakers, and construction workers. Next, if the injury or death occurred on the navigable waters of the U.S. or adjoining areas commonly used for ship’s maintenance, one may then proceed with their claim:
- Report the injury: Those who have suffered an injury that forces them to miss one or more shifts must file a report with their employer. Form LS-1 will authorize treatment for those needing medical care. The LHWCA allows claimants to secure medical treatment from a doctor of their choice.
- Obtain medical attention: Seek treatment from a medical professional as soon as possible. Not doing so may compromise a claim or coverage.
- Provide notice of the injury: Claimants have 30 days from suffering the injury, or knowledge of the injury, to file their claim. Claimants may be exempt from these deadlines depending upon the nature of the injury. Ask for form LS-201.
- File a claim: Claimants have another year to then file Form LS-203 to secure medical or survivor’s benefits. Insurance providers require this form to award short or long-term disability benefits as well.
Secure the needed coverage
Insurance coverage under the LHWCA is relatively comprehensive. Claimants can expect to receive full medical coverage for injuries sustained on the job. Employees who lost more than three days of work may receive wage compensation as well. Those with questions about the LHWCA may find answers with a local lawyer experienced in maritime law.