905(b) Claims Under the LHCWA in Charleston

The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) is a federal law first enacted in 1927 that provides certain workers with coverage following an injury on navigable waters of the United States. Generally, the LHWCA provides workers with a system to recover for lost compensation, medical care payments, as well as certain vocational rehabilitation services.

In addition, the LHWCA also provides families with benefits and payments if they lost a loved one because of an injury sustained while a worker is loading, unloading, repairing, or building a vessel. If you want to know more about Charleston 905(b) claims under the LHCWA, get in touch with a Charleston longshore and harbor workers’ compensation lawyer that can help. A skilled attorney can help you pursue compensation.

Who is Covered Under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act?

The LHWCA provides expansive coverage to workers who are employed or who are working on a navigable waterway in the United States.

This also includes workers who are performing maintenance, are loading or unloading cargo, or building a ship while working on a dock, pier, terminals, wharves, and those areas used in loading and unloading vessels. The LHWCA provides coverage to the following workers:

  • Clerks and Checkers
  • Dock workers
  • Forklift operators
  • Longshore workers
  • Ship-repairers
  • Shipbuilders
  • Ship-breakers
  • Harbor construction workers
  • Winch operators

People Not Covered By LHWCA

However, there are certain employees and workers who are not covered under the LHWCA because of their employment status or their own actions. The following are not covered under the LHWCA:

  • Seamen
  • 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.

905(b) Claims

Under Section 5(b) of the LHWCA [33 U.S.C. § 905(b)], an injured person may bring a civil action under certain circumstances against the owner of a vessel that was the cause of their injury. Section 905(b) of the LHWCA, permits a worker who qualifies under the statute to file two different types of claims, which may allow them to recover in addition to payments under the LHWCA.

The first type of claim allows a worker to file a claim against a third party who may not be an employer, however, is a party who either caused or contributed to an accident resulting in an injury.

The second type of claim allows an injured worker covered under the act to sue their employer directly if their employer also owned the vessel where the injury occurred. Under this section of the LHWCA, a covered worker who is injured while working on a vessel or in connection with a vessel can file a negligence suit against the vessel’s owner, agent, or operator, for “negligence of a vessel.” A qualified workers’ compensation lawyer can help individuals navigate the process of filing Charleston 905(b) claims under the LHCWA.

Types of 905(b) Claims

Before a 1972 amendment to the LHWCA, an employee who was injured could file a claim under the LHWCA for compensation, as well as a full tort claim. However, with the 1972 amendment, employees who suffer an injury may bring  Charleston 905(b) claims under the LHCWA based on three types of negligence:

  • The vessel owner, or another responsible party, breached the duty to provide the ship in a safe condition, or they failed to warn workers of hidden dangers
  • The vessel’s owner breached the duty to prevent workers from injuries when the ship’s owner is in active control of the ship
  • The vessel’s owner breached the duty to intervene and to protect workers from known dangers during operations

Speaking With an Attorney

Working as a seaman can be quite dangerous. When you work on the water you put yourself at risk every single day. That is why it is vital that you have a Charleston longshore and harbor workers’ compensation attorney on your side, to help you protect your rights. If you have been injured while working on a ship, dock, pier, or navigable waterway, get n touch with a lawyer with experience protecting the rights of maritime employees. If you have any questions about filing Charleston 905(b) claims under the LHCWA, contact an attorney today.


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