If you work at sea then you might already know that your job is dangerous. Between slippery decks, long exhausting hours and tumultuous weather it is easy to get injured at sea. That is why seamen, deckhands, engineers and other maritime workers are covered under the Jones Act. Anyone working at sea is at a higher risk of injury than those working on land. The Jones Act gives extra protections to maritime workers because of the dangerous nature of the job.
Injuries for maritime workers can be costly
Maintenance and cure is available to any injured maritime worker who is covered under the Jones Act. Injured workers often have to take time off for an injury, which means they could miss entire bouts at sea and lose a lot of money. On top of losing work injured people must shoulder the heavy financial burden of hospital costs. That is where maintenance and cure come in. Employees can receive compensation while they heal from their work injuries.
The term maintenance and cure is exactly what it sounds like. Compensation is given to injured maritime workers so they can financially support medical costs (cure) and living expenses (maintenance) while they get better. It is easy to qualify for payments because you do not need to prove that your employer was at fault. The payments are like workers' compensation, available to all injured workers.
Maintenance payments are a living allowance for injured maritime workers. Workers can live off of these payments until they are healed and ready to go back to work. Unfortunately it is common for hurt workers to receive maintenance payments that are way below their standard of living. Payments can cover basics such as rent and minimal groceries. Car payments, the Internet bill and the phone bill might go unpaid.
Cure payments are meant to cover the medical costs for injured maritime workers. These payments should cover current and future medical costs for the injury. This can include:
- Hospital bills
- Medication costs
- Testing and surgery costs
- Follow up appointments
These costs are covered, along with maintenance payments until a worker is deemed completely healed by a doctor. Some employers want to rush their workers back too early. They might put pressure on their employees to tell the doctor that they are better, or they might hire an independent physician to complete their own exam. This independent doctor will be more inclined to say that the worker is ready to return to their job.
When people return to work too early after an injury then it can make the problem much worse. This can create long-term injuries that will cost a lot more pain and money in the end. Maritime workers who do not receive the payments that they require can turn to legal representation. Having an experienced maritime attorney while you go through the compensation process can ensure that you get the payments that you need.