Difference Between Longshore Act and Workers’ Comp in Florida
A specific type of Workers’ Compensation insurance is necessary for business that employ maritime workers in Florida. Coverage for longshore workers in the maritime industry differs from coverage necessary under Florida’s Workers’ Compensation system.
The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) is a federal mandate requiring certain coverage for certain maritime workers. It applies to longshore workers and other maritime workers in Florida and the rest of the country. This act is distinct from Florida’s Workers’ Compensation system in that the claimants differ, the process of seeking medical care differs, and the benefits for certain injuries differ. If you employ both maritime and non-maritime employees, you may need insurance that complies with both the LHWCA and Florida’s Workers’ Compensation insurance requirements.
For more information about getting coverage from NPN Brokers, call our Florida Workers’ Compensation insurance brokers at (866) 340-9120 or visit our website today.
How Does the Claims Process Differ Under the Longshore Act and Florida’s Workers’ Comp System?
State Workers’ Compensation systems and the Longshore Act differ in terms of how injured workers can get benefits and, in some cases, what those benefits will be. While the differences between Florida Workers’ Compensation benefits and benefits under the LHWCA are fewer than in other states, some notable differences are worth mentioning.
When longshore workers pass the status or situs tests, asserting they were working on or near navigable waters and sustained injuries while doing maritime work, they can file a claim under the LHWCA. They cannot file a claim under the Longshore Act if they do not meet either test. Since inland employees typically don’t pass the status or situs tests for the LHWCA, they will file a claim with their employer’s state Workers’ Compensation insurance.
Permanent Partial Disability Benefits
The Longshore Act allows maritime workers to recover permanent partial disability benefits, which are unavailable under Florida’s state Workers’ Compensation system. These are injuries that maritime workers might never recover from and will reduce their working capacity for, in many cases, the rest of their lives.
Lost Wages Benefits
Lost wage benefits for injured workers are similar under the Longshore Act and Florida’s Workers’ Compensation system. In either case, employees that file a claim can typically recover lost wage benefits that equal two-thirds of their average weekly wages for the time they are disabled. Some other states do not have the same high percentage for lost wage benefits as Florida does.
The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act does not require injured maritime employees to seek medical care from approved doctors. Instead, workers can get assessed by the medical professionals of their choosing. Under Florida’s Workers’ Compensation system, employee injuries must be confirmed by a medical professional that is approved by an employer’s insurance carrier. This means that if an employee files a claim under the LHWCA, their employer cannot require that they seek additional medical attention from doctors of their choice.
When Do Employers Need Coverage Under the Longshore Act?
Companies that employ longshore and other maritime workers are excluded from Florida’s state Workers’ Compensation system. Instead, they are covered by the federal Workers’ Compensation system established under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act.
Established decades ago, the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act created a separate federal Workers’ Compensation system for maritime workers. Under this act, harbor workers and other maritime employees must be covered by a specific type of Workers’ Compensation insurance, different from the coverage other non-maritime businesses must get for their employees.
The LHWCA covers injuries sustained on navigable waters and adjoining areas by longshore workers, harbor construction workers, and other maritime employees, like ship repairers and builders. The location of an accident matters when filing a claim under the LHWCA. Maritime employees are only covered by insurance under the LHWCA if they were injured while working on U.S. navigable waters or adjoining areas, like bridges.
Employers can get coverage under the Longshore Act by contacting a private insurer with help from our Florida Workers’ Compensation insurance brokers. While companies can also self-insure should they choose to, this makes them financially responsible for a maritime worker’s injuries. Remember, this specific type of coverage only protects maritime employees injured in specific instances and is mandatory for most companies that employ longshore workers or other maritime workers in Florida.
Do You Need State Workers’ Comp if You Employ Longshore Workers in Florida?
Workers’ Compensation under the LHWCA and normal Workers’ Compensation insurance are different types of coverage, and, in some cases, companies in Florida might also need the latter even if they employ longshore workers.
Even if a majority of your employees are covered under the LHWCA, you might still need normal state Workers’ Compensation insurance if you employ non-maritime workers. For example, maritime companies might have inland offices that employ workers who never step foot upon a maritime vessel. They might be administrative workers or other employees who do not have maritime responsibilities of any kind. If you employ four or more non-maritime employees, you will need normal Workers’ Compensation insurance in Florida.
Determining if you need normal Workers’ Compensation insurance if you employ longshore workers and non-maritime employees is crucial. Failure to get either type of coverage, if necessary, can harm your business. Normal Workers’ Compensation won’t cover longshore workers injured on the job in most cases, and coverage under the LHWCA typically won’t cover non-maritime employees injured on land.
Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to get coverage that abides by the LHWCA and normal Workers’ Compensation insurance for non-maritime workers from the same private insurer. This can allow you to consolidate your policies somewhat and streamline the process of getting insurance, eliminating certain administrative issues for maritime businesses in Florida.
Get Workers’ Comp Insurance from Our Brokers Today
To get a policy that protects your business from NPN Brokers, call our Florida Workers’ Compensation insurance brokers at (866) 340-9120 or visit our website today.
"*" indicates required fields
- Does Your Company Need Workers’ Compensation Insurance in Florida?
- What are the Penalties for Not Having Workers’ Compensation Insurance in Florida?
- How Many Employees Do You Need to Have Workers’ Compensation Insurance in Florida?
- Do I Need Workers’ Compensation Insurance for My Subcontractors in Florida?
- Do I Need Workers’ Comp for My Son or Daughter in Florida?