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Maintenance and cure benefits for repetitive stress injuries

Like any job in Manhattan, your work in the maritime industry requires you to do several repetitive tasks. The stress that such tasks place on your body can result in injuries over time. Such injuries may require treatment in order for you to perform daily tasks (much less perform the functions of your job). Even though the causes of such injuries are work-related, many still come to us here at Tabak Mellusi & Shisha LLP wondering whether the nature of such injuries disqualifies them from being covered by maintenance and cure benefits. 

Per the Cornell University Law School, the maintenance and cure benefits offered under The Jones Act are meant to cover injuries that occur while at sea. Typically, most associate those injuries with those that arise from accidents, as those are the incidents that most believe cause the worst injuries. Repetitive stress injuries, however, can be equally as devastating as any suffered in an accident. Common types include: 

  • Chronic neck and back pain
  • Rotator cuff and carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Arthritis (joint inflammation)
  • Bursitis (inflammation of the bursa that cushions joints)
  • Tendinitis (inflammation of the tendons in the joints)
  • Tenosynovitis (inflammation of the sheaths covering tendons)

In seeking coverage for work-related repetitive stress injuries, you often need to prove that negligence on the part of your employer was the cause of them. The same is is true when seeking maintenance and cure benefits. If a vessel owner did not provide adequate training, safety equipment or ergonomics to prevent repetitive stress injuries that occurred while in the service of your vessel, then that failure may be used as proof of your deserving maintenance and cure to cover the expenses related to your treatment. More information on your eligibility for maintenance and cure can be found here on our site. 

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