Understanding Your Rights under the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act

The Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act, or LHWCA, provides benefits and rights to maritime workers who do not qualify as seamen, including harbor workers, shipyard workers, and longshoremen. Depending on your eligibility, your injury may be covered by the Jones Act rather than the LHWCA. Suits filed under the Jones Act often receive larger settlements, so it is important to consult a lawyer and determine the best route for you. If your employer or insurance company is refusing to pay you what you deserve after a maritime injury, the attorneys at the Law Offices of Richard R. Kennedy in Lafayette, LA, can help you build and pursue a case. Please contact us today to review your claim.

photo of a dock

What is the LHWCA?

Similar to the Jones Act, which provides protection to seamen, the LHWCA ensures other maritime workers are treated fairly by their employers after an employment-related injury or illness. The act gives employees access to compensation as well as the right to sue if employer negligence caused their injury or illness. Federal law indicates workers receive compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses.


The Longshore Act covers workers who actively engage in maritime employment on, near, or adjacent to navigable water. Individuals who qualify for protection under the LHWCA include:

  • Harbor workers
  • Longshoremen
  • Shipyard workers
  • Ship breakers
  • Shipbuilders
  • Ship repairers
  • Oil rig workers
  • Workers contracted by the U.S. working in other countries
  • Civilians working with the U.S. military
  • Employees of private businesses working on the outer continental shelf of the U.S.

This act does not cover all maritime workers. Seamen covered by the Jones Act are excluded, along with employees of the U.S. or a foreign government. In addition, employees who were intoxicated at the time of an accident or injury, or those who intentionally harmed themselves do not fall under the LHWCA. Anyone already covered by state workers’ compensation is not eligible.

What to Do After an Accident at Work

If you are injured on the job, you should immediately seek any necessary medical attention. The next step is to report the incident to your supervisor or employer by filling out Form LS-201, Notice of Employee’s Injury or Death. According to the law, you must submit written notification of an injury within 30 days of the incident or when you became aware of injury or disability.  

Next, request Form LS-1, Request for Examination and/or Treatment. Your doctor will need to complete this form, noting if the injury is related to your job and detailing the treatments you received. 

To ensure you receive the compensation you deserve, it is important to understand your rights and have an advocate who can work on your behalf.

Within one year of injury, you must submit Form LS-203, Employee’s Claim for Compensation to obtain benefits for a work-related injury. If you miss the submission deadline, your employer may deny compensation. 

For individuals with an occupational disease rather than injury, there is a different deadline for filing a compensation claim. If you have a work-related illness, you have two years from the date you became aware of or should have become aware of the disease. 

Protecting Your Best Interests

Your employer may attempt to deny you the benefits you need to support yourself and your family after a work-related injury or illness. To ensure you receive the compensation you deserve, it is important to understand your rights and have an advocate who can work on your behalf. Our team at the Law Firm of Richard R. Kennedy can provide you with the information and support you need to protect your best interests. If you have been affected by a maritime injury at work, contact us online or call (800) 440-1934 or (337) 232-1934 to learn more about your rights.