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Houston Longshore and Harbor Worker Accident Lawyer

Working in the maritime industry can be hazardous for people who spend most of their working hours aboard vessels in navigable waters. Yet it can also be dangerous for people whose main role is repairing, maintaining, and loading vessels while they are docked. Fortunately, a piece of federal legislation called the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) provides you with unique recovery options if you get hurt while performing this work.

However, knowing that you have grounds to recover under the LHWCA, and actually getting the compensation you should be entitled to, can be two very different things. It will be harder to pursue your claim without guidance from a capable maritime injury attorney. With a Houston longshore and harbor worker accident lawyer on your side, you will stand a much better chance of navigating federal law and obtaining a positive result from your claim.

Who is Covered by the LHWCA?

As the name suggests, the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act is primarily meant to protect workers in harbors, docks, and similar environments from harm due to work-related accidents or illnesses. That said, there are actually two “tests” that maritime workers must pass in order to qualify for coverage under the LHWCA.

First, a worker seeking benefits through the LHWCA must establish that they have the correct “status,” meaning they must establish that the primary focus of their day-to-day employment is related to maritime activities on land. People like shipbuilders and longshoremen virtually always meet this basic requirement. Things can get more complicated in other situations—for example, workers who move shipping containers away from ships and onto trucks. Workers who perform exclusively administrative or office tasks in a harbor or dockyard typically are not eligible for LHWCA benefits.

Second, a worker must establish “situs,” meaning they must show they work primarily on, adjacent to, or near navigable water at least part of the time. In practice, this is generally interpreted to mean within a mile of a navigable waterway, but there is room for subjective interpretation here. A longshore and harbor worker accident attorney could explain this in more detail to a worker in Houston.

Benefits Available Through a LHWCA Claim

The LHWCA typically takes the place of state-level workers’ compensation for eligible workers and offers similar benefits to a standard workers’ comp plan. A typical claim should seek reimbursement for:

  • All reasonable medical expenses related to care for the claimant’s injury or illness
  • Reimbursement for related costs such as travel expenses to and from doctors’ appointments
  • Disability benefits if an injury leaves the claimant unable to work for an extended period of time

These disability benefits are usually two-thirds of the claimant’s average pre-injury weekly wage, and they may be available for temporary or permanent, partial or total disability. A LHWCA lawyer in Houston could identify what benefits a worker may be eligible for and provide crucial help in acquiring those benefits.

Seek Help from a Houston Longshore and Harbor Worker Accident Attorney

Much like traditional workers’ comp claims, filing a claim under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act is often much more complex in practice than it may seem on paper. Insurance companies and employers often disagree with injured maritime employees about what care and benefits they really need. Without capable legal representation, you may have a difficult time coming out on top in that debate.

Contacting a Houston longshore and harbor worker accident lawyer should be your top priority after getting hurt during land-based maritime work. Call today for a consultation with Schechter Shaffer & Harris, LLC.

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