If you work in the maritime industry, then you probably first heard about the concept of “maintenance and cure” when you were first training for your role. Your trainer probably instructed you that this benefit is much like what worker’s compensation coverage is for those individuals who work on the land. Both protect workers who become injured or ill while on the job. Maritime workers must meet certain requirements to be entitled to receive maintenance and cure.
Seamen that are covered by the maintenance and cure doctrine are generally eligible to have their repatriation back to their home base covered. They also qualify to receive compensation for any incident-related transportation as well as food, utilities and lodging costs that they may incur while convalescing. All of the above-referenced falls under the maintenance umbrella.
Medical care and treatment fall under the “cure” portion of this doctrine. Seamen are generally required to visit the medical providers of their employer’s choice as part of the maintenance and cure doctrine. Seamen are also entitled to request a change in provider if they’re not happy with the one that they’re assigned.
The maintenance and cure doctrine requires all vessel owners to provide their seamen with any unearned wages for the duration of their expected voyage. The boat or rig’s owner is supposed to pay for any room and board during that time as well as while the mariner is recovering. Maritime operators are even supposed to continue paying these expenses if the seaman is released to reassume alternative or light-duty appointments.
It’s important to note that seamen aren’t only eligible for injuries that originate while they’re working at sea. These workers are also entitled to maintenance and cure benefits if a pre-existing condition becomes exacerbated while on the job.
Many Manhattan seamen find it hard to get their employers to realize how serious their injuries are and why they desperately need medical attention. Others find that their supervisors will allow them to see a doctor when they’re first injured, but that they make it hard for them to get future health care and other benefits that they should be eligible for. A maintenance and cure attorney can help you get the medical care that you need in your New York case.