The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act is a workers’ compensation program for workers employed in U.S. navigable waters or in a U.S. harbor. The federal Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs administers this program across the country. This blog will help our readers in Lake Charles and nearby areas in Louisiana to understand the provisions based on which compensation under the LHWCA is determined, both in case of a disabling workplace injury and in case of a workplace death.
Per the provisions of the LHWCA, a disabled worker receives two-thirds of average weekly wages as long as the effects of an injury continue, subject to weekly minimum and maximum rates. Compensation is also provided for certain permanent injuries. In the event of a worker’s death, a surviving spouse receives half the deceased worker’s weekly average wage as compensation. Also, if the deceased worker and the surviving spouse have children, an additional one-sixth of average weekly wages is paid as compensation. In addition, the LHWCA makes injured workers eligible to receive support for vocational rehabilitation.
An installment of compensation that is without an award must be paid by the employer within 14 days of when it becomes due. If there is a delay, the employer must pay an additional 10 percent, which is added to the unpaid installment. Here, one should remember that an employer may be able to convince the authorities that the delay in payment of a particular awarded installment is for reasons beyond its control. In the case of a compensation that is payable under an award, the employer must pay the due installment with 10 days, failing which an additional 20 percent of the due amount is added to the unpaid installment.
The guidelines for compensation under the LHWCA are clearly laid out, but obtaining those benefits often becomes a major challenge for workers and families. Sometimes the difficulties stem from the lack of knowledge and sometimes it is due to the emotional distress. Considering these factors, it may be a wise decision to seek experienced legal representation that can guide the claimants through entire process.