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What is the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act and How Does it Affect North Carolina Workers?

When a North Carolina worker is injured on the job, he or she has the option of filing a workers’ compensation claim. Workers’ compensation is a form of insurance carried by employers with more than one employee and is designed to compensate employees injured on the job for medical expenses and lost wages.

While this is an excellent avenue of redress for the majority of workers, maritime employees have other options. The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act is a federal law aimed at providing benefits to employees working on or near water, docks and shipyards.

Generally, LHWCA offers certain advantages to employees above and beyond that which they can expect from traditional workers’ compensation claims. For instance, workers who file for temporary disability benefits can expect to receive more sizeable payments than that which is, on average, recovered under North Carolina workers’ compensation. Additionally, workers can recover for expenses like medical travel and enjoy medical recovery without compensation caps.

To qualify for these benefits, an employee must meet two important requirements, called the “status” and “situs” test. The status portion of this test concerns the nature of the workers’ employment. An employee’s job must include at least some maritime duties, such as marine transport, shipping, dock loading and unloading, and ship repair. As long as at least part of an employee’s duties involves maritime work, an employee may qualify.

The second requirement an employee must meet to qualify for LHWCA benefits is the situs portion of the test. This has to do with where an employee works. An employee must work on, near or adjacent to water. This is generally construed to mean at least within a mile of navigable water.

If you believe you might qualify for benefits under LHWCA, contact a North Carolina workplace injury attorney with the Lanier Law Group.

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