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The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) is a federal law that offers compensation for injuries suffered during work on navigable waters of the US or associated areas such as loading docks or boat construction sites. This compensation is meant to cover things such as medical care and vocational rehab efforts. It also provides compensation for survivors of aforementioned injuries that result in the unfortunate outcome of death. Furthermore, insofar as the Act is concerned, the term “injury” covers occupational disease, hearing loss and illness stemming from occupational hazards.


According to the Dept. Of Labor, the LHWCA covers harbor construction workers, ship-breakers, ship-repairers, and longshore workers. The injuries must have taken place on navigable waters of the US or adjoining areas, such as docks, terminals, wharves and the like. Additional coverage, called extensions, for the Act has been passed by Congress to include more than just traditional harbor workers:

  • Defense Base Act
  • Work for private employers on U.S. military bases
  • Work on public work contracts with any U.S. government agency
  • Work on contracts approved and funded by the U.S. under the Foreign Assistance Act
  • Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act
  • Employees working on the Outer Continental Shelf of the United States in the exploration and development of natural resources
  • Non-Appropriated Fund Instrumentalities Act
  • Civilian employees of non-appropriated fund instrumentalities of the Armed Forces


Part of what it means to be an experienced LHWCA attorney at the Kolodny Law Firm is that not only do we have the experience to know what the Act covers, but we also know what it doesn’t cover:

  • Seamen (masters or members of a crew of any vessel)
  • Employees of the United States government or of any state or foreign government
  • Employees whose injuries were caused solely by their intoxication
  • Employees whose injuries were due to their own willful intention to harm themselves or others

Another noteworthy aspect of coverage for the LHWCA is that it does not cover those who are already covered by a state workers’ compensation law, which includes:

  • Individuals exclusively performing clerical, security, administrative or data processing work
  • Individuals of a marina not engaged in construction or expansion
  • Individuals employed by a club, camp, recreational operation, restaurant, museum, or retail outlet
  • Individuals employed by suppliers or vendors and those temporarily doing business on the premises of a maritime employer
  • Aquaculture workers
  • Individuals building recreational vehicles under 65 ft. In length


The Jones Act and the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act are two entirely separate Acts that provide compensation for different categories of maritime workers. As mentioned above, masters or crew members are excluded from LHWCA coverage precisely because they are already covered under the Jones Act. It basically boils down to the workers connection to the vessel in question, assuming the injury occurred on such a place. To be considered a seaman insofar as the Jones Act is concerned, the employee must be contributing to the function of the vessel or the accomplishment of whatever purpose the vessel has. Conversely, that same contribution is not required in order to be covered under the LHWCA.


As long as the requirements are met, the coverage of LHWCA is automatic, however the compensation is not. The Office of Worker’s Compensation Programs is the overseeing body that governs the approval of claims, and besides that, employers can contest it as well. That’s one of many reasons why you need an experienced maritime lawyer from the Kolodny Law Firm. With years of LHWCA experience, we have the knowledge to guide you or your loved one to a just and fair compensation for the maritime personal injury that has been suffered. Call us today.

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Know Your Rights

During the initial consultation, we will discuss the auto accident in detail to discover more about your legal needs. We will review all of the documents and reports, and provide you with our legal advice. We handle all communication with the insurance companies – especially aggressive negotiations. Most importantly, we can calculate the full extent of your losses and prepare a solid case for recovery.

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Our firm has worked with countless insurance companies; therefore, we understand the complexities of their procedures.

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Building Your Case

Kolodny Law Firm sends letters to the insurance providers immediately and ensures they know of your representation.

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Our network of doctors and facilities we work with will assist you to get high quality treatment for your injuries.

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