After a serious injury aboard a vessel, you may expect the owner to pay for your medical expenses as you convalesce in New York. However, in some cases, seamen have had to take their employers to court in order to receive maintenance and cure that the law says should be theirs. In one case reported by FindLaw, the court found in favor of the men who were injured in a barge accident.
Your shipowner is required to pay for maintenance and cure until you reach maximum medical improvement. One seaman involved in the lawsuit was awarded future cure, which required payments to continue until MMI, based on the testimony of a physician.
The company appealed the decision, claiming that the award made the payment of cure continue indefinitely. However, the appeals court ruled that the award was not reached in error because the future cure was based on a surgical plan deemed necessary by the company’s own physicians. Cure was also to include ongoing psychological treatment until MMI was reached.
According to the appeal, the shipowner also believed that the district court erroneously awarded the plaintiff over $55,000 to cover future medical expenses. This amount was awarded to cover future medical expenses after the plaintiff reached MMI. In general, it is true that you would not be able to receive money to pay for medical treatments past MMI. However, in that case, the court ruled that the second award was tort damages rather than cure, and the appeals court determined that the decision should not be reversed.
Every situation is different, and there are many factors that a court considers. Therefore, this information about a specific maintenance and cure case should not be interpreted as legal advice.