If you work aboard ships you face unique workplace challenges such as rough seas, cold temperatures, cramped work space, long hours, and limited access to medical assistance. To offset these dangers, the general maritime law requires employers to pay maintenance and cure benefits to seamen who are injured or become ill while working aboard a ship.
Sea-based maritime workers are considered “seamen” under the general maritime law. For example: fishermen, fish processors, some marine construction workers, deckhands, engineers, cooks, stewards, and any other members of a ship’s crew are considered seamen.
An employer must provide maintenance and cure to any seaman whose injury or illness occurred, manifested or became aggravated while in the service of the ship. These benefits are owed regardless of whether the employer was at fault.
Maintenance is a daily stipend to cover the seaman’s food and lodging expenses while he is seeking treatment for his illness or injury on shore. The maintenance rate may be stated in the seaman’s employment contract (i.e., shipping articles, coastwise articles). In the event this rate is insufficient to cover the seaman’s basic food and lodging expenses, he may seek a more reasonable rate.
Cure covers the seaman’s medical expenses, including travel for treatment. Both maintenance and cure are owed until the seaman reaches maximum medical improvement, that is until his or her condition cannot be further improved.
If you were injured while working aboard a ship, a Maritime, Offshore, Jones Act personal injury attorney can help you obtain the maintenance and cure benefits you are entitled to. For more information, contact us today at (888) 258-9103 or by filling out our contact form.