San Diego Longshore Lawyer Straight Talk: Calculating Permanent Disability For An Unscheduled Injury

San Diego Longshore Lawyer Straight Talk: Calculating Permanent Disability For An Unscheduled Injury


William Turley

Longshoreman, shipyard workers and harbor workers that are injured on the job are covered by the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act. This is a Federal workers compensation program for maritime workers whom are not Seaman. There are two different types of injuries under the Longshore Act. There are scheduled disabilities and unscheduled disabilities. You first need to determine whether you have a scheduled disability or an unscheduled disability. This article discusses how to calculate a Longshore unscheduled disability award. Stay tuned for future articles discussing calculating scheduled disability awards under the LHWCA.

You must first determine whether you are medically able to return to your usual and customary employment without suffering any wage loss. In other words, are you able to perform your regular work? If you are able to return to your regular work without incurring any wage loss, then you are probably not entitled to any permanent disability under the Longshore Act. For California LHWCA employees, that usually means that your permanent disability monies will be limited to whatever you may be entitled to under State of California workers compensation.

If you are unable to return to your usual and customary employment as a Longshoreman, ship yard worker or harbor worker; then you may be entitled to permanent disability monies under the LHWCA. Assuming you have a loss of wage earning capacity – the calculation is as follows.

You next need to determine your average weekly wage (AWW). Caution is urged in calculating your AWW. Most of the time, accepting the Longshore insurance company’s calculation of your AWW will result in you losing a lot of money.


For example, say your average weekly wage is $1,000 per week.

Next, you need to determine what your wage earning capacity is after your injury. For example, if you are unable to return to work as a shipyard welder. Instead, you now are able to earn $300 per week due to your disabilities and work preclusions.

The calculation is as follows:

$1,000.00 (Average Weekly Wage) – $200.00 (Post Injury Earning Capacity) = $800.00

Then, multiple this figure times 2/3’s.

$800.00 x 2/3 = $533.33.

Thus, you are entitled to $533.33 a week for the rest of your life. This is your permanent disability award.


This article is not legal advice. I am simplistic in order to achieve clarity. As was discussed in this article, average weekly wage is one of the most heavily litigated issues under the Longshore Act. In addition, determining Post Injury Earning Capacity is beyond the scope of this article. Don’t make the mistake of assuming that just because you have a legitimate Longshore injury that you will receive a fair permanent disability award. If you have a serious Longshore injury you are strongly advised to retain an experienced Longshore Lawyer. Know this, the Longshore insurance company is going to have a very good San Diego Longshore Lawyer. If the insurance company lawyers up with a good San Diego Longshore Lawyer, you had better believe you need a better San Diego Longshore Lawyer.

Bill Turley is a

San Diego Longshore Lawyer

. Bill has been a San Diego Maritime Lawyer since 1987. He is a

San Diego Workers Compensation Lawyer

. Bill has the most comprehensive Longshore website in California.

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