As of August 1, 2016, new maximum civil penalties are in place according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Announced June 30, 2016, the US Department of Labor unveiled an interim final rule showcasing an increase in civil penalties that can lead to additional liability under the Longshore & Harbor workers Compensation Act (USL&H), and its extensions the Defense Base Act (DBA), the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA), and Non-appropriated Fund Instrumentalities Act (NAFIA).
This translates into additional cost for those who operate under the above mentioned acts. Historically, the ability for an employee to sue for compensation has been limited. With the new ruling, the maximum penalties under the new rules practically double the prior civil penalties allowed under the law, they then will be adjusted for inflation.
There were even additional adjustments for USL&H penalties as they have not been keeping pace with inflation. This means that the new civil penalty for “Failure to file first report of injury or filing a false statement or misrepresentation in first report” is now set at a maximum of $22,587!
Congress, in passing the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act, created an additional deterrent to proscribed behavior. The goal of such an increase is to deter behavior that would lead to civil penalties and allow those who are injured to recover additional monies that were previously unavailable to the injured parties.
However, this also translates to additional liability as the cap on civil suit recovery has doubled. This law only affects those civil suits that have commenced after the August 1st date. All suits that were filed prior to August 1, 2016 should still be considered to reflect the prior civil penalties limitation.
More information available at: https://www.dol.gov/newsroom/releases/opa/opa20160630