An injured seaman is entitled to maintenance and cure. When maintenance and cure is not paid by the employer, a seaman may bring an action against his employer as part of a Jones Act injury claim or an individual claim. In many instances, employers may attempt to prevent a seaman from obtaining the maintenance and cure to which he is rightfully entitled. A seaman can obtain maintenance and cure even if he was not injured as a result of his employer or the condition of the vessel.
What is Maintenance and Cure?
Maintenance and cure provides an injured seaman with the medical care and treatment necessary as a way to aide in recovery. Maintenance refers to weekly checks that are provided to a seaman when his regular pay is stopped due to injury or illness. Maintenance is meant to assist an injured seaman with his living expenses during his recuperation. Cure refers to the payment of medical treatment or expenses while the seaman is recovering.
What Do I Need to Do to Recover Maintenance and Cure?
A seaman need only show that he was injured or hurt while aboard a vessel. The injury or illness does not need to be work- related, it need only be while he was servicing the ship in his duty as a seaman. A seaman is entitled to maintenance and cure regardless of whether he or his employer is at fault for his injuries.
How Long Am I Entitled to Maintenance and Cure?
A seaman may receive cure until he reaches “maximum medical cure.” Maximum cure refers to the point at which no further improvement in the seaman’s condition is expected. In other words, if a seaman’s condition is untreatable or incurable, he has reached “maximum medical cure.” However, if the seaman’s condition requires continued medical treatment, the employer must provide him with the medical treatment necessary to function. Oftentimes, this includes the payment of medications and medical devices.
A seaman may receive maintenance until he is fit for duty or until he has reached “maximum cure.” Once a seaman returns to work, the employer is no longer under a duty to provide maintenance.
Can I Recover Attorney’s Fees for Maintenance and Cure?
Yes. A seaman who sues his employer to receive maintenance and cure payments may also recover his attorney’s fees.
For more information regarding Jones Act and Maritime cases, please contact Pierce | Skrabanek. We provide free case evaluations and handle all cases on a contingency basis. We have obtained millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements for clients injured offshore. Our consistent results have led to our induction into the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and we have been nominated as Rising Stars by Texas Monthly.