Your Right to Maintenance and Cure
Under federal maritime law, injured seamen and fishermen have a right to a daily payment for room and board ("maintenance") and medical treatment until they have healed or recovered as much as can be expected ("cure").
The attorneys of Beard, Stacey and Jacobsen, LLP, in Seattle, Washington, represent injured maritime workers and advocate for them to receive the full amount of maintenance and cure to which they are entitled. It is our goal to see that our clients get the best medical care possible.
To be eligible to receive maintenance and cure benefits, injured workers do not have to prove that their employer was negligent - only that the injuries or illness occurred in the workplace.
Maintenance and cure benefits give injured seamen a right to be paid for their medical expenses and for wages they would have earned until the end of the voyage.
The Right to Cure
Medical expenses may include visits to the clinic or hospital, costs of surgery, tests such as MRIs or CT scans, medicine, physical therapy, psychological therapy, vocational retraining, emergency room services, emergency transportation, nursing care and more. In addition, the cost of transportation to receive medical care is covered.
Injured seamen do not have to pay any deductibles for their medical care. It is the total responsibility of the employer and its insurance company. You can select your own physician.
Medical benefits continue to be paid by your employer until you have reached "maximum medical improvement" — as fully recovered as you are going to get..
Vessel owners and their insurance companies often require an injured worker to get a second opinion from a doctor of their choice. If the insurance company's doctor disagrees with the seaman's physician, our attorneys will fight for your right to receive treatment. We know that the law favors the injured seaman's physician in cases when two qualified medical experts disagree.
The Right to Maintenance
Crew members who become injured or ill working aboard ship have a right to receive maintenance. Paid once or twice a month, maintenance is payment for room and board for each day the worker is unable to return to the job.
The exact daily rate of the maintenance payment is typically designated in the employment contract and is usually very low: from $25 to $45. Our law firm has had success taking legal action to force vessel owners and their insurance companies to pay a more reasonable rate of maintenance that takes into account the injured worker's actual rent or mortgage, utility bills and expenses for food.
To learn more about your right to maintenance and cure after a maritime accident, please contact the lawyers of Beard, Stacey and Jacobsen, LLP for a free consultation.
Were an employee willfully withheld Maintenance and Cure benefits in disregard of the law and medical evidence, a seaman may be entitled to punitive damages.