Serious accidents and injuries occur on ships and vessels every day. When a seaman is injured while working on a ship, offshore rig or platform, jack-up rig, a drill barge or other type of maritime vessel, the seaman is entitled to seek compensation from his or her employer. The Jones Act is a federal statute that gives injured seamen important legal rights, including the right to receive maintenance and cure benefits from their employers.
What Do I Need to Know About Maintenance and Cure?
No Fault Remedy. Maintenance and cure benefits are available to injured seamen regardless of who is at fault for the accident or injuries. If you are a seaman and you are injured on a ship or vessel or in a maritime accident or become ill while in the service of a vessel, your employer is required to provide these benefits to you no matter who is at fault.
Maintenance. Maintenance is the money that your employer is required to pay you while you are recovering from your injury or illness. These benefits are meant to compensate you for your daily costs of living on land in the same manner that you lived offshore. Unfortunately most employers will try to keep these payments as low as possible, typically $15 to $40 per day. Our firm may be able to help you obtain a bigger maintenance payment than what your employer is offering and in some cases we may be able to assist you in getting additional money through an advance on your case.
Cure. If you are a seaman who has been injured in the course of your employment, your employer is required to provide you the medical care and services you need to treat your injury or illness. It is very important for you to know that you can select your own doctor for your medical treatment. While your employer may try to convince you to see a company doctor, you have the legal right to seek medical care from your own physician.
Maximum Medical Cure. It is important to know that your maintenance and cure benefits will not last forever. You are only entitled to receive these benefits until you have reached “maximum medical cure.” Maximum medical cure is the point at which your illness or injury will no longer improve even if you receive additional medical treatment. This means that even if you are still suffering from your illness or injuries, once you reach maximum medical cure, your employer will not be obligated to pay for any further medical treatments. It is extremely important that you speak to an attorney about attending any scheduled medical exam in which the company’s doctors are going to determine whether you have reached your maximum medical cure (MMC).
What Should I Do if my Employer Refuses to Pay My Benefits?
Even though your employer has an absolute legal requirement to provide maintenance and cure benefits when you are injured, some employers will try to avoid their legal obligations. In some cases an employer will pay you less than it should and in other situations the employer may refuse to provide you with any benefits at all.
If you have been injured in a maritime accident you need to get legal advice as soon as possible. You should not blindly trust that your employer, or the insurance adjuster, to provide you with the financial compensation and medical care you need to recover from your injuries. Your employer and its insurance company will be looking out for their own best interests, which often means that they will do everything they can to end your medical treatments and limit any payments to you.
We Can Help
Willis Law Firm has over three decades of experience helping injured seaman obtain the compensation and benefits that they are legally entitled to receive. We know the ins and outs of maritime injury law and we are well aware of the tactics many employers use to avoid paying maintenance and cure benefits.
We also know that depending upon the circumstances of your case, you may be able to recover additional damages from your employer and other parties responsible for your injuries under general maritime laws and other legal theories and remedies. When you work with our firm, our legal team will carefully analyze every angle of your case and help you recover the maximum amount of compensation that you are entitled to. Contact us today at 1-800-468-4878 or by completing our online contact form.