If you qualify as a “seaman” under the Jones Act, you are entitled to maintenance and cure benefits when you get injured on the job. Unfortunately, there is a lot of important information your employer won’t tell you, and many companies try to get away with paying far less than their employees deserve.
How much are you entitled to receive for maintenance and cure? How long are you entitled to receive these benefits? What if your employer refuses to pay the full amount you are owed? These are all answers you need to know. With this in mind, here are five important facts about maintenance and cure benefits for injured seamen:
1. Your Maintenance Benefits Should Cover Your Living Expenses
The maintenance benefits you receive under the Jones Act should cover your living expenses. While many companies offer their employees a fixed rate (usually between $15 and $30 per day), you are entitled to submit documentation showing that you need more in order to buy gas and groceries and keep paying your bills on time.
2. There is Not a “Maximum Amount” Your Employer Can Pay
Some companies will falsely claim that they cannot pay more than a predetermined “maximum amount” for maintenance and cure. This is not the case. Your employer can – and must – pay full maintenance and cure benefits until you get better or reach your maximum medical improvement (MMI).
3. You Don’t Have to Accept Your Company Doctor’s Decision Regarding MMI
When you see a company doctor after getting injured on the job, the company doctor will be focused on getting you back to work as quickly as possible. This means that he or she may say that you have reached your MMI before this is actually the case. You are entitled to see your own doctor, too, and doing so before the company doctor says you have reached MMI can help to ensure that you receive the full benefits you deserve.
4. You May Be Entitled to Punitive Damages If Your Employer Won’t Pay
If your employer refuses to pay the maintenance and cure benefits you are owed, you could have a claim for punitive damages. Federal law prohibits employers from intentionally withholding maintenance and cure benefits from their employees. If your employer has wrongfully denied your benefits, not only can an attorney help you collect your benefits, but your attorney may be able to help you seek additional payment as well.
5. Filing for Maintenance and Cure Might Not Be Your Only Option
While filing for maintenance and cure after an offshore accident is one option, it isn’t necessarily the only option you have available. For example, you may be entitled to additional compensation for Jones Act negligence or unseaworthiness.
Talk to a Lawyer about Your Right to Maintenance and Cure
Do you have questions about your right to maintenance and cure benefits? If so, we encourage you to contact us promptly. Call 800-468-4878 or request a free consultation online to speak with an experienced Jones Act lawyer in confidence.Share This