The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, also commonly referred to as the “LHWCA,” by maritime lawyers, is a federal law that protects maritime workers who suffer a disability or death in connection with their employment on navigable waters.
Generally, maritime lawyers must go through the process of providing evidence that an employee’s injury was work-related as opposed to an injury that the employee may have sustained on his own time. This can be difficult to prove if no one witnessed the accident. However, the LHWCA presumes, or automatically considers, an injury to be wor- related unless the employer can provide substantial evidence to show that the injury is not work-related.
In order achieve this presumption, or automatic consideration, maritime lawyers must show two things. First, they must show that the employee suffered an injury. This is typically done by providing medical records to the court. The second thing that maritime lawyers must prove is that either a workplace accident or workplace conditions could have caused the injury, not that they necessarily did.
This issue was recently dealt with in the case of Bath Iron Works v. Fields where an injured worker’s employer attempted to show that the employee’s injuries were not work-related. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit ultimately found that the employee was entitled