What Is Maintenance & Cure?
Understanding a Seaman's Right to Medical Treatment
When an accident or injury occurs at a workplace, the injured employee typically has the right to compensation for medical expenses and loss of wages. Offshore workers have the same right to benefits when they are injured in accidents that occur on offshore vessels such as oil rigs, offshore platforms, and jack-up rigs. However, seamen and harbor workers differ from normal employees because they are dependent on their employer for shelter and food in addition to normal wages. When a maritime worker falls ill or is injured while at sea, medical care may also be required.
Therefore, when offshore workers are injured , the first concerns typically involves medical costs and treatment expenses.
- How will they pay for your necessary treatments?
- What source of income will they survive on while recovering?
- Will their work pay for their injuries?
With so many questions surrounding an offshore injury, it is no wonder that so many seaman don't know their rights or how to enforce them. However, it is critical to recognize that any seaman who is injured while at sea has the legal right to receive maintenance and cure from their employer. Whether you are a commercial fisherman, a deckhand, or any other position, you are entitled to these benefits.
Explaining Maintenance & Cure
Maintenance and cure are defined as the benefits an injured or ill seaman will receive from their employer while they are recovering.
Regardless of who was responsible or at fault for the injury, an injured seaman still has the right to said benefits.
- Maintenance refers to expenses for rent or mortgage, utilities, groceries, and other necessary homeowner expenses. It does not cover costs for cable, telephone, or any expenses that are not deemed as necessary to running a household.
- Cure will cover all reasonable medical expenses, which can include transportation costs to any necessary medical treatment.
For work injuries, a seaman receives compensation benefits that are intended to cover all healthcare costs. Once a seaman reaches the maximum medical improvement (MMI) they will no longer receive maintenance and cure. Even if a seaman hasn't fully recovered, they may be deemed as healthy as they are going to get. This means that maintenance and cure may not cover all pain, suffering, and desired medical treatment.
Protecting Your Rights as a Maritime Worker
Slippery deck platforms, broken machinery, and bitter weather conditions are all common causes of injury and illness among offshore workers. Depending on the type of accident, a worker may be unable to return to work for an extended period of time, leaving their family without a stable income. Maritime employers do not have the ability to pick and choose which benefits they provide to sick or injured employees. If your employer has failed to provide these benefits after you have suffered injury or illness, contact a maritime injury attorney for help.
At Arnold & Itkin, we understand that recovering benefits is not always an easy task. In addition to fighting injury or illness, you also need the strength to stand up to your employer, who may refuse to pay or try to offer you a bare minimum amount. Our team of maritime injury lawyers are proud to stand up for the rights of injured workers. We will not allow your employer to take advantage of your rights. Contact our firm for the aggressive and determined legal support that you need to win maximum maintenance and care benefits. With a commitment to justice and a proven history of success, a personal injury lawyer from our team will provide you with caring support in your offshore accident case.
If you are facing a similar situation, it may be time to speak with an offshore injury attorney to determine what your options are.