The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) covers almost anyone working in the Unites States’ navigable waters who suffers a disabling injury.
This federal law covers workers employed in traditional maritime occupations, including harbor construction, ship-breaker, shipbuilders, longshore and shipbuilder ones. This act not only provides these workers with medical care but vocational rehabilitation should they not be able to remain employed in their field.
What type of medical care do workers receive under LHWCA?
Injured maritime workers are entitled to receive reasonable health care necessary for their injury, including:
- Necessary medical treatment.
- Diagnostic testing.
- Physical therapy.
- Hospital admissions.
- Prescription drugs.
Any qualifying worker may also submit a claim requesting reimbursement for travel expenses.
Is there a time limit to file a medical benefits claim?
The LHWCA doesn’t limit how long injured workers may receive medical benefits. Recipients may receive them indefinitely, provided that they still require medical treatment.
Any injured worker who wishes to receive non-emergency medical treatment must first procure authorization from either their employer or insurance provider for it to be covered.
Are the medical providers a worker sees restricted?
LHWCA-covered workers aren’t restricted in the physicians that they can see. The act considers chiropractors to be doctors. LHWCA doesn’t see faith healers and naturopaths as authorized medical providers.
You must receive permission from your employer, insurance provider or the LHWCA administrator to change doctors.
Independent medical examinations and LHWCA
Your employer or their insurance company may schedule random, independent medical examinations for you with little advance notice within a reasonable distance from your home. They may suspend your benefits if you fail to attend those appointments.
Steps to take when you’ve suffered injuries in your maritime job
It’s always best to notify your employer of any injuries the minute your accident occurs. They should be forthright in ensuring that you see a doctor and advise you of how the LHWCA claims process works.
You may want to read more information and LHWCA and the protections it affords you if you’ve suffered injuries on the job. It may fill in the blanks about what you should do if your employer doesn’t encourage you to see a doctor or isn’t forthright in advising you of your right to file a claim.