Claims for Injured Land-Based Maritime Workers
The Longshore & Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) establishes a federal workers’ compensation statute for workers engaged in maritime employment on navigable waters, which includes docks, terminals, warfs, and “other adjoining areas customarily used by an employer in loading, unloading, repairing, or building a vessel.” Under the Act, injured maritime workers are entitled to receive certain compensation for employment-related injuries regardless of whether the employer is at fault, but they are generally barred from suing the employer.
However, the Act does allow injured maritime workers to sue third parties, such as non-employer shipowners. To recover for injuries a third party causes, an injured worker generally must prove the third party failed to exercise reasonable care for the worker’s safety and that the failure itself caused the worker’s injuries. This often includes showing a non-employer shipowner failed to exercise reasonable care to turn its ship and equipment over to the worker in a condition that will allow the worker to safely conduct work; failed to warn the worker of hazards the owner knew or should know existed; or failed to exercise reasonable care for the worker’s safety in the areas of the ship the owner continues to control or in which the owner continues to conduct operations.