Maritime workers have some of the most dangerous jobs in the country, as they are at high risk for injury even when doing the most seemingly mundane tasks. Because of these high risks, maritime workers are entitled to benefits under the Jones Act and other maritime laws if they are injured on-the-job, regardless of who was at fault for the injury. Maintenance and cure benefits, as well as benefits for unearned wages, are often offered to injured seamen to provide them with support during the recovery process.
Maritime employers generally provide their employees with room and board on the ship during their employment. Maintenance benefits are essentially an extension of this responsibility to injured seamen who are recovering at home. Maintenance benefits may cover an injured seaman’s necessary household expenses, including:
- Rent or mortgage
- Property taxes
- Homeowner’s insurance
Non-household expenses or household expenses deemed unnecessary (e.g., cable, car payments) are not generally covered by maintenance benefits.
While maintenance benefits cover household expenses for an injured maritime worker, cure cover the worker’s medical expenses.
An injured seaman can also recover damages for the wages he would have earned on-the-job had they not been injured.
These benefits will typically be provided to an injured seaman until he reaches the point of maximum medical improvement (MMI). This means that even if the worker is unable to return to work or is still receiving treatment, they will not continue to receive benefits once a doctor has determined that their condition is unlikely to improve anymore. If you are an injured maritime worker, an experienced maritime law attorney can help you recover the benefits you are entitled to.