The Lifespan of Maintenance and Cure Benefits Under the Jones Act
When your workplace injury falls under the coverage of the Jones Act, you receive maintenance and cure benefits that cover your medical expenses (the “cure” portion), as well as room, board, and other similar expenses (maintenance). This money is meant to help you recover physically and remain financially stable while you are injured and out of work.
These Benefits Are Not Permanent
Unfortunately, your employer is not required to pay them indefinitely. So how does your employer determine when you will no longer receive maintenance and cure benefits? They use a deadline referred to as maximum cure.
Maximum cure is the maximum level of medical improvement that you are expected to make following your injury. It is the point at which your physician determines that your condition has improved as much as continued medical treatment will allow. Note that it does not mean the point when your injuries have healed completely or when you are able to return to work.
This means that many seamen injured at work may lose their maintenance and cure benefits long before they are able to return to work—so what are their options when their lifeline runs out? Workers may be able to file a negligence or unseaworthiness claim through the Jones Act if their employer was to blame for their injuries, which may cover future medical expenses and lost future potential earnings.
The Easiest Thing to Do Is to Be Proactive Before Your Maintenance and Cure Benefits Are Cut Off
Find a doctor that you trust, and carefully research the doctors that your company chooses. An independent physician will be less pressured to say that you have reached maximum cure, and may be more incentivized to ensure that you truly are fully recovered.
For more information on Jones Act claims, maintenance and cure coverage, and choosing your doctor after an offshore injury, contact our firm today by clicking on the live chat feature.