Maintenance and Cure in Maritime Law
Know Your Rights in New Orleans
Maintenance and Cure is a federal law that gives injured Seamen the right to collect a daily amount of pay, as well as requiring coverage for any medical expenses accrued while the claimant is away from work. Persons who are permanently or temporarily employed on a vessel, which is legally defined as having spent 30 percent of one’s time on a ship, are eligible for Maintenance and Cure.
What is Maintenance and Cure?
Under the Jones Act and General Maritime Law, a Seaman who is injured in the line of service is entitled to certain rights and compensation. Maintenance and Cure forms a subset of these rights. First, a couple of definitions:
- “Maintenance” refers to the compensation for the plaintiff’s daily expenses, such as food and lodging, that would have otherwise been provided had he or she not been injured on the vessel.
- “Cure” refers to the paid medical expenses that Seamen are entitled to if injured on the job.
Maintenance is usually granted for the amount of time between the date the injury was sustained and the end of the injured party’s recovery. Typically, the employer or the ship owner is required to pay a daily stipend equal to the Seaman’s expenses on rent or mortgage, utilities, property taxes, homeowner’s insurance, and food, all of which are costs necessary for running a household. Hammond Law Firm recommends that you keep any and all receipts for rent or mortgage, food, transportation, and any other necessary living expense during the duration of your injuries.
The obligation of Cure states that a Seaman, if injured as a result of the negligence of his or her employer, will receive compensation for all related medical expenses, which include costs for medical devices and any medication prescribed, beginning from the time of injury. It is highly recommended that you keep a record of all relevant medical reports and expenses, which will help to determine your total compensation.
An injured Seaman is entitled to Maintenance and Cure until the point of maximum medical improvement (MMI). MMI refers to the stage in the injured party’s recovery where the patient’s condition is no longer expected to improve any further. At this point, the doctor is likely ready to discharge the patient from care, even if the Seaman has not fully recovered from the injury sustained.
If you belong to a union, your Maintenance and Cure compensation may already be contractually settled. If your union membership includes an agreed upon rate of Maintenance, the employer may not be obligated to pay more, even if the union Maintenance rate is insufficient to cover your living expenses. Whether the union contract is binding depends on state law, meaning that it may or may not be depending on where the claim is filed. If you are unsure about how much Maintenance and Cure you are due, at Hammond Law Firm we are more than happy to help you determine the amount of compensation you are legally entitled to.
You are Entitled to Fair Maintenance and Cure!
Under Maintenance and Cure, if an offshore employee is injured while on the job, the employer is legally obligated to pay a daily stipend at least equal to the costs of maintaining a household, as well as sufficient to cover any and all medical expenses related to the injury sustained. Our legal team at Hammond Law Firm, LLC has the experience and knowledge necessary to help you fight for the compensation you deserve. Furthermore, note that if a ship owner or offshore employer has breached his or her obligation to provide fair Maintenance and Cure, you can recover any attorney fees resulting from your legal claim.
If you have suffered an injury while employed on a vessel and your employer is not providing you with adequate compensation to cover for living and medical expenses, contact us online or call us at (504) 586-3535 so that we can fight for the recompense you merit.