If you have been injured while helping to unload, load, build, maintain or repair vessels, boats or barges, you are likely covered by The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act.  The Longshore Act is designed to provide compensation and medical benefits to a class of injured maritime workers who are not covered by the Jones Act (seamen) or state workers’ compensation.   The Defense Base Act provides the same benefits to civilian employees who are injured while working outside the United States or on U.S. military bases.

These two classes of workers – non-seaman maritime workers and civilians working overseas – have one thing in common:  their workers’ compensation claims are administered the same way.  That’s because the Longshore Act was extended to apply to Defense Base Act employees who are injured overseas.

How Does the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act Work?


Longshore and Harbor Worker Compensation ActThe Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act covers a  class of maritime workers who assist in loading, unloading, building, maintaining or repairing vessels, boats, barges, container ships, etc. who are not seamen.  It also includes any harbor worker, ship builder, welder, barge loader, dockman for accidents occurring on the navigable United States waters or any adjoining:

  • wharf
  • pier
  • dock
  • marine way
  • shipping terminal
  • trans-shipment facility (ie. rail to barge or vice versa)

Currently, the Longshore Act gives compensation and benefits to about 500,000 workers. This provides them with monetary coverage for disability due to an injury received while on the job or a disease deemed “employment-related” and occurring in the navigable waters of the U.S.  The amount of compensation you will receive is generally two-thirds (2/3) of what you earn per week on average.  In the case of the death of a longshore worker, the Longshore Act provides for compensation to the next eligible survivor or family member and funeral costs will be covered up to $3,000.

The Longshore and Harbor Worker’s Compensation Act is – at the most basic level – a compensation and benefits act that covers the maritime workers that the Jones Act does not.  If you have been injured or have become ill at a port or facility next to a river or lake, and you are not covered under The Jones Act, contact a maritime lawyer today to discuss your options and rights under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act.

The Defense Base Act

The Defense Base ActThe Defense Base Act further extends the coverage eligibility of the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, and was first enacted in 1941.  Primarily, the Defense Base Act was designed to protect workers overseas or on military bases who are injured or contract a disease while working.

After its initial installation, the Defense Base Act was eventually amended to include almost any government job – whether it be military in nature or not – requiring work in a foreign country.  This includes the building of dams, schools, and roads, etc.  Due to the many dangers of working abroad, and the normal dangers associated with each job in itself, anyone who does not carry DBA coverage – and is required to – will meet stiff penalties.

If you or a loved one has been injured or contracted a disease while working on a government contract overseas, contact Moschetta Law Firm today to see if you should be covered under the Defense Base Act.  If you are, and your employer failed to carry DBA coverage, there are many options to pursue to obtain the justice you deserve.

The attorneys at Moschetta Law Firm specialize in Maritime Law, The Jones Act, the Longshore Act and Defense Base Act.  Contact us today or chat with an attorney live online for further questions.