If you sustained an injury while working on a barge, ship or another water-based vessel, you may have rights that extend beyond traditional workers’ compensation benefits. New York workers’ comp law grants injured workers the right to repayment for necessary medical treatment, lost wages and permanent partial disability. However, maritime law extends an injured party’s rights to include benefits for maintenance, cure and unearned wages, and to allow injured seamen to file claims for unseaworthiness and negligence. FindLaw details what that means for you.
If you sustained an injury while working as a seaman, your employer must pay you maintenance. Maintenance refers to the payment necessary to reimburse you for the room and board generally provided to you aboard the vessel. Your employer must pay this benefit daily from the date on which you leave the vessel to the ate you reach maximum medical improvement. Currently, the maintenance rate is $20 to $30 per day. Though many attorneys have disputed this rate in recent years, the courts have yet to raise it.
In addition to maintenance, your employer must also award you cure. Cure refers to your right to medical treatment, which should continue until you are either fit for duty or you reach maximum medical improvement. Though you have a duty to mitigate medical expenses, your employer has the burden of proving that the extent of your medical costs is unnecessary or excessive.
Finally, your employer must pay you for wages you would have received had you not sustained an injury. This means that had the employer contracted you to work for the entire fishing season and you sustained your injury within the first week, the employer must compensate you for the entire agreed-upon period. Unearned wages include bonuses, overtime and any other benefits you would have received had you been able to perform your duties aboard the vessel.
This content is for informational purposes only. You should not use it as legal advice.