Scheduled and Non-Scheduled Injuries Under LHWCA
Due to the dangerous and physical nature of many longshore occupations, the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) offers longshoremen much more comprehensive coverage during their injury and course of treatment than the standard state workers’ compensation benefits.
One of the primary confusions over LHWCA injury coverage is the Act’s division of injuries into two categories, scheduled and non-scheduled. The categorization of your injury into one of these two groups will determine your compensation based on that injury after your medical treatment is complete. It is important to note that LHWCA will not cover potential lost future earnings for scheduled injuries; only a final “scheduled” payment will be given.
Scheduled injuries are generally considered less serious, and are assigned a final compensation amount equal to a set rate of pay (covered in part below) for total loss or 100 percent disability, or a percentage of that pay based on the percent disability. Some common total loss scheduled injuries, including the amount of weeks of compensation, include:
- Leg – 288 Weeks
- Arm – 312 Weeks
- Hand – 244 Weeks
- Foot – 205 Weeks
- Fingers – Thumb, 75 weeks; First finger, 46 weeks; 2nd, 3rd, and 4th fingers: 46, 30, 25, and 15 weeks respectively
Non-scheduled injuries—most often the neck and back—have a much more generous compensation policy, guaranteeing two-thirds of the workers’ average weekly wage for life, or until he or she is able to return to work in full or partial capacity. If you are cleared for light duty work after a year of therapy, your employer would be responsible for paying you the difference between your new salary and two-thirds of your old salary.
Clearly, there are serious shortcomings in the compensation methods associated with scheduled injuries. Longshoremen that suffer a scheduled on-the-job injury, such as total loss of a leg, will receive a final compensation amount equal to 288 weeks of their average weekly wage. If this worker is unable to return to work or can only work light duty after the injury, they will receive no further benefits beyond their final compensation pay under the LHWCA.
If you are an injured longshoremen and have questions or concerns about your compensation following your injury at work, contact our Houston office today by phone or by filling out our online contact form.