Q: How do I know if I’m receiving all of the maintenance and cure benefits I’m entitled to?
When maritime workers are injured while in the service of their vessel, general maritime law requires their employer to compensate them via payments for maintenance and cure. Hiring an experienced maritime attorney can ensure that seamen receive all of the benefits they are entitled to.
Under maritime law, maintenance is the daily living allowance paid to an injured worker from the time he leaves his vessel until his medical recovery is complete. This amount should be sufficient to cover necessary household expenses such as a rent or mortgage payment, homeowner’s insurance, property taxes, utilities, and food.
There is one exception, however, to using actual household expenses to calculate the maintenance rate. When an injured worker belongs to a union that has negotiated a maintenance rate with his employer, that rate may apply in lieu of his actual expenses. This frequently results in payments that are lower than the amount the seaman expected. If you’re a union member, an experienced maritime injury attorney can advise you regarding the rate that is applicable to your claim.
Payments for cure are intended to cover any medical expenses stemming from on-the-job injuries sustained by a seaman. The resulting medical bills should be paid until the worker has fully recovered, and he is physically able to return to his job. Covered medical expenses typically include:
- Hospital and doctor bills.
- Medication costs.
- Surgery expenses.
- The cost of medical equipment, such as crutches or a wheelchair.
- Transportation costs to and from medical appointments.
Receiving Maintenance and Cure Benefits
While the law requires maritime employers to pay maintenance and cure, this doesn’t always happen. If your employer willfully fails to provide these benefits, you may also be entitled to recover punitive damages intended to punish the company for their misconduct. You need an experienced maritime injury attorney to help you receive the compensation you deserve. To discuss your claim, contact the law offices of Steve M. Lee, P.C., by using the form on this page.