What Is Maintenance and Cure?
A Seaman's Right to Medical Treatment
When you suffer an injury, the first concerns typically involves medical costs and treatment expenses.
- How will you pay for your necessary treatments?
- What source of income will you survive on while you are recovering?
- Will your work pay for your 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. 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.
What is maintenance and cure? 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 any work-related injury, a seaman receives compensation benefits that are intended to cover all health care 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. If you are facing a similar situation, it may be time to speak with an offshore injury attorney to determine what your options are.