Admiralty Maritime:

Longshore and Harbor Workers

The Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act (LHWCA) allows certain workers to collect compensation for medical bills and two-thirds of their weekly wages after they have been injured on the job. These benefits are offered to maritime workers regardless of fault. However, the injured party can still sue a vessel owner or other third party for additional damages.

If an employer or vessel owner violates one of the following three duties, the injured longshore worker has the right to bring a maritime injury claim.

  • The “turnover” duty
  • The “active involvement” duty
  • The duty to “intervene”

The turnover duty calls for the vessel to carefully turnover the ship, its appliances and equipment in a way that an expert stevedoring contractor could carry on the ship’s services in a safe manner. The turnover duty also requires the ship to report any hazards to the stevedores. The “active involvement duty” occurs in circumstances where the employer or ship’s owner is involved in cargo operations and injures a seaman by some negligent action. In addition, if the employer or vessel owner fails to exercise reasonable care to protect the longshoremen from harm, they have violated the “active involvement duty.” Lastly, a duty to “intervene” presents itself in situations when there is a known danger and the employer or vessel’s owner fails to interfere to prevent the injury.

The federal Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act generally applies to maritime employees who do not work on vessels. The Act covers the following employees:

  • Crane operators
  • Terminal workers
  • Marine construction workers
  • Stevedores
  • Longshore checkers
  • Shipbuilders
  • Cargo workers
  • Vessel repair workers
  • Some oil or gas rig employees who work on fixed offshore platforms

The majority of cases filed under the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act stem from workers who were killed or injured by falling cargo, ship containers, falls, dangerous loading equipment or negligent co-workers.

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