Many state and federal laws, including workers’ compensation coverage, protect workers if they get hurt on the job. What about seamen and others who work in New York’s navigable waters, though? If you hold one of these jobs, then you may wonder what types of protections take care of you if you suffer injuries while at work. You may qualify for maintenance and cure benefits.
Shipowners must pay maintenance and cure benefits to any seaman who becomes injured on the job, no matter if it’s their fault or someone else’s. These workers can receive both necessary and reasonable medical treatment from their employer as part of maintenance and cure. Seamen may also receive a daily living allowance to cover their expenses while they’re out of work.
Most seamen will eventually reach maximum medical improvement (MMI) or a state whereby no further medical intervention can improve their condition. Maintenance and cure benefits come to an end once a seaman permanently stabilizes.
It’s not uncommon for a vessel owner to have their seaman reassessed in instances when they reach MMI. These employers are often quick to try and pull maintenance and cure benefits the first time that a doctor says that a worker’s condition is permanently stable. Doing this can be a wrong move on their parts, though.
New York judges tend to rule in a seamen’s interest. They expect vessel owners to send their workers for secondary evaluations if there’s any concern about whether their condition is permanently stable. If an employer terminates benefits without justification for doing so, then the injured seamen may file suit to recover additional damages. An attorney here in Manhattan can advise you of your right to pursue legal action against your employer if they ended your benefits too soon.