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& Wilson, LLC
337-513-4436

How the LHWCA applies to Louisiana workers

Longshore and harbor workers in Louisiana may benefit from understanding the workers' compensation laws that apply to their position. Many of these individuals are covered under the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act. This piece of legislation financially provides for the needs of these workers in the event that they are injured while on U.S. waters or doing work on land that is related to these duties. The act also gives survivors' benefits to the next of kin of a person who died while performing these duties.

The LHWCA provides other legal protections for the workers under its umbrella. For example, the act stipulates that no employee can be fired or otherwise punished for challenging a workplace policy or fighting the institutional environment in any way. When a worker has a complaint, they will be offered mediation services to deal with the matter. In the event that the worker or the next of kin of a deceased maritime employee do not agree with the findings of a mediator, their dispute may be taken before an administrative law judge. Other legal avenues could be available if the findings are still not palatable to the employee.

The LHWCA covers most workers in maritime occupations. Exceptions include crewmembers of vessels, employees of the federal government or those of a foreign nation. In the event that a worker is not covered under the LHWCA, similar provisions in other statutes give these workers comparable protections.

If a Louisiana maritime worker is injured on the job, an attorney can help build a case by talking to the plaintiff, employees who were at the scene of the accident, examining official employment reports and finding expert testimony. If any or all of these pieces of evidence prove that the maritime worker's employer was responsible for the plaintiff's injury, then a favorable court ruling could be in place.

Source: United States Department of Labor, "Health Benefits, Retirement Standards, and Workers’ Compensation: Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation", November 14, 2014

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