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Negligence not relevant for maintenance and cure

When a New York seaman is injured on a vessel, the owner is required to pay for medical bills, lodging, transportation and food until the seaman either returns to work or improves as much as he or she can under medical care. According to the U.S. Courts for the Ninth Circuit, these expenses are known as maintenance and cure and are rights that seamen have as long as they can fulfill the burden of proof.

The evidence must show the status as a seaman, service on the vessel at the time of the injury and the amount to which he or she is entitled. The seaman does not have to prove that there was any negligence in the case.

According to the Federal Bar Association, in the case, Allen v. NCL America, LLC, a seaman claimed that the vessel owner had breached his duty to provide maintenance and cure. Further, the plaintiff alleged that the accident, which caused an injury to his knee, was the result of negligence and unseaworthiness. These two factors are claims under the Jones Act rather than maintenance and cure.

The plaintiff did not provide the evidence needed for a successful Jones Act claim, and the court dismissed the allegations of negligence and unseaworthiness. However, the vessel owner made a motion to dismiss the claim for breach of maintenance and cure that was unsuccessful. The court ruled that the burden of proof had been fulfilled in this matter, namely that the seaman became injured in service of the vessel. As a result, the seaman received compensation for medical expenses and the cost of room and board for the duration of the time he was not able to work. 

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